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Sixty years passed since the last successful attempt 
was made to produce a complete History of Devonshire ; 
and the volume of the brothers Lysons has remained from 
that day to the present the most valuable contribution to 
the general historical literature of the county. Of late, 
however, many revisions have been made in local history : 
and though Devon has not again been treated as a whole, 
there are few of its comers which have not been made 
the subject of independent and painstaking research ; 
while immense masses of original materials have been 
collected which were either unknown or inaccessible when 
the Lysonses were engaged on their great work. With 
what has been done at the State Paper Office, all who 
are interested in these topics are familiar. The local 
inquiries of the Historical Manuscripts Commission have 
thrown great light upon many obscure places of the 
Devonian record. Much attention has been paid to the 
archives of public bodies. The muniments of the Cor- 
poration of Exeter, and of the Dean and Chapter of 
Exeter Cathedral, have been arranged and calendared by 
Mr. Stuart Moore, who has also investigated those of the 

viii Introductory Note. 

Corporation of Dartmouth, The records of the Cor- 
poration of Plymouth have in like manner been brought 
together and indexed by the author; while Mr. J. R, 
Chanter has carefully examined the muniments of Barn- 
staple ; and Mr. E. Windeatt those of Totnes. 

This acquisition of new material, together with the 
adoption of stricter methods of inquiry and the more 
careful investigation of authorities, has led, in the course 
of the last thirty years more especially, to the re-writing 
in detail of much Devonian history. Among those who 
have taken a prominent part in this work, and to whom 
this volume is most largely indebted, are the late Sir John 
Bowring, the late Dr. Oliver, the late Rev. S. Rowe, the 
late Mr. R. J. King, the late Mr. J. B. Davidson, Messrs. 
P. F. and J. S. Amery, Mr. C. Spence Bate, F.R.S., 
Mr. J. R. Chanter, Messrs. W. Cotton, F.S.A., and 
R. W. Cotton, Mr. F. T. Elworthy, Mr. P. O. 
Hutchinson, Mr, R. Dymond, F.S.A., Mr. T. Kerslake, 
F.S.A., Mr. P. Q. Karkeek, Mr. G. W. Ormerod, F.G.S., 
Mr. W. Pengelly, F.R.S., F.G.S., Mr, G. Pycroft, Mr. 
J. Brooking Rowe, F.S.A., F.L.S. (whose presidential 
address at Crediton to the Devonshire Association con- 
tains a full list of printed books and MSS. dealing with 
local topography and history), Mr. E. Windeatt, and 
Mr. J. T. White. So many points of interest, however, 
still continue unsettled, and the history of so many 
places and families, after all that has been done, still 
remains to be explored, that the work of the Devon- 
shire historian must yet be largely tentative. While 
presenting, therefore, what it is hoped will be found an 
accurate statement of the present position of historical 

Introductory Note. ix 

inquiry in Devon, the need of further investigation is 
fully recognised by the writer, with* the certainty that 
much still accepted as historical must, sooner or later, 
be set aside by a better informed and more searching 

More than a sketch of the great history of Devon 
and of its famous muster-roll of worthies this work 
cannot pretend to be. A county which is all but the 
largest in the kingdom; which has afforded the earliest 
traces of the existence of man in these islands ; which 
has never from the dawn of recorded history occupied 
a secondary place in the national life ; which again and 
again in the hour of England's need has found the 
man; whose worthies, century by century, claim the 
first rank in every class — soldiers, sailors, lawyers, divines, 
inventors, poets, artists, explorers, statesmen, men of 
science ; which, by the staunchness of its common folk 
no less than the courage and skill of their leaders, has 
more than once proved the pivot whereon the destinies 
of the State have hung; — the history of such a county 
is the history of England, and must be rather hinted at 
than expressed in the compass of these pages. But they 
will not be altogether unworthy of the noble Devon 
whose record they set forth, if their readers judge of what 
is wanting by what is said ; and are led for themselves 
to fill in an outline which it is hoped may at least claim 
the merit of being inclusive, definite, and clear. 

One word as to the arrangement. Neither of the 
existing units of county organization supplied exactly 
what was needed for the purpose in hand. It was there- 
fore decided to treat the places of chief historical interest 

Introductory Note. 

in their respective localities as centres, and to group 
around them their more immediate territorial associa- 
tions. The order is mainly topographical. Beginning with 
Exeter, under which head — ^as subsequently under Ply- 
mouth — general points of county history are treated, a 
circuit is taken through East, North, West, and South 
Devon, and the survey ends in the great central waste of 




Devonshire stands alone among the counties of England 
in its peculiar relation to the question of the antiquity of 
the human race. Traces of Palaeolithic man are indeed 
scattered throughout the kingdom, but in Devon only is 
there fairly consecutive evidence. The contemporaneity 
of man with the extinct quaternary mammalia was lifted 
from the level of argument to that of demonstration by 
the discoveries at the Windmill Hill Cave, at Brixham, 
in 1858. The retrospect of Devon is thus inferior in 
antiquity to that of no part of the British Isles, if we 
assign due proportion and weight to the inferential and 
material narrative which commonly passes under the name 
of prehistoric ; and, moreover, it is a record of singular 

That the men of PalEeolithic times inhabited, or at 
least visited, the whole county of Devon, is proved by the 
manner in which their traces have been found on every 
hand. The caves at Brixham and Torquay; the submerged 
forests in Barnstaple Bay, and at other points of the 
Devon coast; the beds of the rivers; the depths of the 
peat-bogs ; the wild wastes of the moors ; the cliffs, as at 

History of Devonshire. 

Croyde and Bovisand ; the low-lying gravels of the Axe 
Valley — these teem with the flint-chips, arrow-heads, axes, 
and scrapers of the earliest Devonians who have left a 
trace behind. Mr. Pengelly, F.R.S., has advanced cogent 
reasons for the belief that the earliest men of the most 
famous of the Devon caves, Kent's Hole, Torquay, were 
* inter-glacial, if not pre-glacial.* The * earliest men * — 
for it is a remarkable fact that the investigations in Kent's 
Cavern have yielded evidence of the existence of man in 
Devon from the Palaeolithic, in the Neolithic, the Bronze, 
and the Iron Ages. 

Next to the Palaeolithic men of Devon came the Barrow- 
builders ; but the gap between the two is so wide that, 
while the cave-men of Palaeolithic date were of the period 
of the extinct cave mammalia, no barrow has yielded even 
fragmentary traces of these animals. 

Of the two great classes of barrows, the long and the 
round, the latter only occur in Devon. This is a curious 
fact ; for long-barrows are peculiarly abundant in the 
adjoining counties of Dorset and of Wilts, and round- 
barrows yet exist in Devon by hundreds, almost thousands. 
The inference seems either that the long-barrow builders 
did not dwell farther west than Dorset, or that all 
vestiges of them have been destroyed on the western 
side of the Dorsetshire border. In all probability the 
Devonians of the long-barrow period were of a different 
race to the long-barrow people — possibly the direct 
descendants of the later Palaeolithic men, supplanted 
and driven into the corners of the country by the long- 
headed long-barrow builders, as these were supplanted and 
driven by the round-headed builders of the round-barrows, 
and as in historic times Kelt and Saxon were in turn 
hunters and hunted. The long-barrow period seems to 
be represented in the West by chambered round-barrows, 
and by interments which have received the trivial name 
of 'giants' graves.' The most remarkable examples of 

Early History. 

these were discovered at Lundy Island, where two stone 
kists were found to contain two gigantic skeletons, the 
larger covered with limpet-shells. Like the long-barrows, 
with which they are presumably contemporaneous, these 
'giants' graves' and chambered-barrows belong to the 
Age of Stone. 

The round-barrows are the most important factor in 
the earlier history of Devon. Abounding in every part 
of the county, either continuously or by record, they 
illustrate almost ever}- variety of barrow interment asso- 
ciated with the Bronze Age, thus indicating the occupation 
of the West by a bronze-using people over a very long 
time. How far back this may extend we cannot say. 
The Barrow Period was undoubtedly of great duration ; 
but there is good reason to believe that barrow interment 
continued down even to post-Roman days. It is im- 
portant to note, as indicating variations in race, in time, 
or in custom, of a very important character, that inter- 
ment by cremation is all but universal in the barrows of 
Devon and of Cornwall ; while in Wilts and Dorset the 
proportion of unburnt bodies is as high as a third and a 
fourth. Moreover, while in Devon the few unburnt in- 
terments are in the contracted form, as usual, in Dorset 
the extended position prevails. 

One of the most difficult questions of Western Archaeo- 
logy is that of the age and origin of the Bronze Period, 
to which these round-barrows in the main belong. It is 
seen almost from the first in somewhat settled form, and 
it is traceable downwards until it merges in historic 
civilization ; but its connection with the Stone Period is 
to all appearance hopelessly obscured. There is, how- 
ever, evidence of vast antiquity. The Western Peninsula 
was the chief, if not the only, source of tin for the bronze- 
users of Europe, save, perchance, upon Asiatic confines. 
The tin-mining of the West, therefore, dates back to the 
introduction of the use of metals on the Continent ; and 

I — 2 

History of Devonshire. 

when we attempt to give to this great epoch in the history 
of man a definite chronological position, ' Cornwall proves 
that tin-streaming was carried on at Carnon and Pentuan 
at a time when the mammoth either still existed in the 
West of England, or had not long disappeared ; and when 
the general level of Devon and Cornwall was at least 
thirty feet higher than it is now.' Within the historic 
period no such change has taken place. Considerations 
of this kind led Dr. Wibel to conclude that the civilization 
of the Bronze Age originated in the West of England; 
while M. Furnet has suggested a European civilization 
contemporary with that of the East, dealing with minerals 
before the arrival of the Kelts and their intervention in 
metallurgy. The fact that the early bronze weapons 
were evidently made for a small-limbed people gives 
marked support to the latter theory. 

That there was a distinct and well-marked civilization 
in the West in pre-Roman times is indeed shown, not 
only by the references of Greek and Roman writers to the 
ancient tin trade of the Cassiterides with the Mediterranean 
ports, but by the relics of the later Bronze Age which 
Devon has yielded. Coins of the type which Dr. Evans, 
F.R.S., assigns to about 150 B.C. have been found in the 
county at Cotley, near Axminster, Exeter, and Mount 
Batten, near Plymouth ; while an ancient cemetery in the 
last locality has yielded mirrors, and various implements, 
ornaments, and weapons of bronze (now preserved in the 
Museum of the Plymouth Institution), all the characters 
of which are Keltic, and not Roman. In some localities 
such remains would undoubtedly suggest a post-Roman 
origin. Here they are evidently the final types of the 
older pre-Roman civilization ; not necessarily of any great 
antiquity, nor free from foreign characters, but influenced 
alike in origin and progress by an eariier intercourse with 
the civilized world than that of Roman date. 

This superior civilization of the West was probably the 

Early History, 

leading cause of the peculiar form taken by the Roman 
occupation in the ancient Keltic Kingdom of the Dun- 
monii, which included both Devon and Cornwall. 
Attempts have been made to prove the existence of 
Roman roads and Roman stations throughout the extreme 
West of England, but without success. The so-called 
Roman roads of the older antiquaries are really the 
British trackways, which here as elsewhere the Romans 
adapted to their purpose. The British Fosseway ran 
from Exeter over Dartmoor, crossed the Tamar near 
Tavistock, and continued along the central highlands 
of Cornwall by Cenion (Truro) to Giano (Marazion) in 
Mount's Bay. There was only one Roman station of any 
note within Devonian confines — the Isca Dunmoniorum 
of the * Itinerary ' of Antonine. This undoubtedly is 
Exeter. Moridunum, which in the ^ Itinerary' intervenes 
beween Isca and Durnovaria (Dorchester), was in Devon, 
but the site has not been clearly identified. 

The long-accepted story of Roman conquest and sway 
in Devon rests solely upon a mistaken identification and 
a forgery. The false identification is the gloss of Geoffrey 
of Monmouth, or one of his editors, that the Caer Pen- 
saulcoit which Vespasian besieged was Exeter, instead of 
Penselwood, on the Wilts and Somerset borderland. The 
forgery is the * Chronicle ' attributed to Richard of Ciren- 
cester. There is thus no evidence that the Dunmonii 
were ever conquered by the Romans ; and the conclusion 
of Mr. Beale Poste appears irresistible — that 'they re- 
tained their nationality under their own native princes.' 
The same long-continued foreign intercourse which had 
given the Western Peninsula its superiority in civilization 
prompted its residents rather to welcome than oppose the 
people with whom they were on such friendly terms, and 
from whom they derived so much advantage. 

Exeter, indeed, was both a Roman station of import- 
ance and the head of the Roman power in the district. 

History of Devonshire. 

The only other points in Devon that appear by their 
names to indicate the presence of Roman soldiery are on 
the same parallel, near North Lew — Chester Moor, Scob- 
chester, and Wickchester. West of Exeter no proofs of 
Roman occupation, beyond an individual settlement here 
and there, have ever been found, though traces of Roman 
intercourse are by no means wanting. North and east 
of Exeter there are only remains of Roman villas, as at 
Hannaditches, near Seaton, while another is said to have 
occupied the crest of a cliff near Hartland. The full 
significance of these facts, in considering the character 
of the Roman Period in Devon, is best seen when we 
compare non- Roman Devon with thoroughly Romanized 
Somerset, in which Roman structural and other relics of 
importance— temples, potteries, villas, mines— have been 
found in over one hundred places. 

The later Dunmonii were a numerous as well as a 
fairly civilized race. In every part of the county there 
are to be found earthworks, some of very considerable 
magnitude, which have commonly been classed by anti- 
quaries as hill-forts, camps, or castles. By far the greater 
majority of these are, however, simply the enclosures of 
ancient villages or towns — the evidence, not of long- 
continued or desperate warfare, but of a settled and 
comparatively dense population. 

Whether, when the Romans left Britain, and the Britons 
had to rely upon their own efforts for protection against 
northern and sea-borne marauders, Devon shared to the 
full extent in the general despair is doubtful. The pre- 
servation of an independent, or quasi-independent, status 
would tell in its favour. It is impossible to credit the 
assertion that Picts and Scots carried their raids so far 
west. Probably Dunmonia, continuing its trade in 
metals with the East, enjoyed for a while comparative 
quiet, and was one of the last places visited by Saxon or 
by Dane. The Saxons were familiar with the Channel 

Early History. 

coast, *the Saxon shore/ long ere they reached Devon 
and Cornwall ; and the Danes make their first historical 
appearance in the West as the allies of the Cornish race 
against their own Teutonic kin in the reign of Ecgberht, 
when they were defeated by the Saxons in a great battle 
just over the Tamar at Kingston Down. 

Obscurity shrouds the advent of the Saxons in Devon. 
The only important contemporary record is the ' Anglo- 
Saxon Chronicle;' and that does not carry us further back 
than the eighth century in its Devonian references. 
Saxon intercourse with Devon began in an individual 
form, and by colonization rather than by conquest. When 
the Saxons of Wessex reached the county they had 
become Christians, and had begun, as Mr. J. B. David- 
son says, * to make progress by colonization as well as by 
the sword.' And the late Mr. R. J. King showed how 
in all probability settlements were pushed beyond the 
border * by small bodies of men, either by force or peace- 
ably, but on the whole establishing themselves in more 
peaceful fashion than would be the case when an entire 
district lay at the mercy of the conqueror after a great 
battle.' The peculiar character and distribution of the 
place-names of Devon lends great support to this view ; 
and as immigrant peoples usually accepted the place- 
names they found until further distinctions became neces- 
sary, and as the Keltic names of Devon can only have 
been retained where there was continuity of occupation, 
or association, it follows that wherever in Devon such 
names are most plentiful, there we have the best proof of 
extended intercourse and early Saxon colonization. 

This would not have been the case, however, had not 
the Saxon completed by war what he had begun in peace. 
Colonization in the end did give place to conquest. Mr. 
J. B. Davidson has shown conclusively that the Saxon 
annexation of Devon must be placed somewhere between 
710 — in which year Ine fought the Welsh king Gereint, 


S History of Devonshire. 

and shortly after which he made Taunton the chief defence 
of his new frontier — and 823, in which the Weala and 
the Defena — that is, the men of Cornwall and the men 
of Devon — fought a battle at Gafulford, probably an 
ancient passage on the Tamar. In 710 the whole force 
of Devon and Cornwall was wielded by Gereint ; in 823 
the men of Devon and the men of Cornwall were mar- 
shalled as two opposing hosts. But, inasmuch as there 
is no reason to suppose that Ine pushed his conquests 
further, and as the ' Chronicles ' expressly state that in 813 
Ecgberht harried the West Wealas, while William of 
Malmesbury defines that monarch's first great military 
act as the conquest of Cornwall, the possible limit of the 
subjugation of Devon is narrowed between the years 728 
and 800. Of the kings of Wessex who fill this interval, 
the only one to whom the conquest can be assigned is 
Cynewulf — 755-784 — who is recorded to have fought many 
battles against the Brit- Wealas. It is possible that 
William of Malmesbury may have used the word Corn- 
wall to include part of Devon, in which case the work 
begun by Cynewulf was completed by Ecgberht. If he 
employed that term with modern limitations, Cynewulf 
brought all Devon under his sway. 

A theory that there was a partial conquest of Devon by 
the Saxons, and that the Exe became a frontier between 
the Welsh and English, has been held by several dis- 
tinguished authorities, including the late Sir Francis 
Palgrave. But the data are insufficient. Sir F. Pal- 
grave based his hypothesis upon an agreement ascribed 
to the reign of ^E^elred, between certain Dunsaeta. Read- 
ing this Devnsaeta, or Defena, Sir Francis interpreted it 
to be an agreement * between the Wylisc Devonshire men 
and the Englisc Devonshire men.' The reference, how- 
ever, is not to Devonshire men at all, but to certain 
* dwellers on the downs,' probably inhabitants of Wales 

Early History. 

True, William of Malmesbury states that in 926 
^Selstan drove the Britons out of Exeter, which they 
had inhabited sharing equal rights with the English, and 
fixed the boundary of his province along the Tamar. Mr. 
T. Kerslake has also shown that Exeter is really divisible 
by the dedications of the ancient parishes into British 
and Saxon quarters. A certain joint occupancy of that 
city must therefore be held proven. It is further probable 
that, at the time of Cynewulf 's invasion, Exeter was more 
Saxon than Keltic; and there is reason to believe that 
then, and long after, it enjoyed a kind of independence. 
But however this may be, it is manifest that under 
-^tJelstan the county at large was cleared of the Keltic 
race — save, perhaps, in a few isolated spots — ^and that 
whatever Keltic blood there is now in Devon must date 
from before the Saxon Conquest, or have been acquired 
mainly from Cornwall, since directly it is tested this 
^ ingenious theory of a bisected Devonshire, half Saxon, 
half British, with Exeter as a border fortress, and the 
river Exe as a boundary, vanishes into thin air.' 

One of the most cogent arguments against the theory 
is the fact that we find no trace in the place-names of 
Devon of a graduated Keltic element westward, which 
must be apparent if the county had been so parcelled, or 
the Saxon expulsion of the Britons had not been complete 
and final. The Saxon element in the local topographical 
nomenclature is quite as decided on the eastern bank of 
the Tamar as it is upon the north coast ; and the Keltic 
names in the former locality are not a whit more plentiful 
than in some other parts. It has been thought that the 
recesses of Dartmoor may have retained their Keltic 
population long after the rest of Devon had fallen under 
Saxon rule ; but this cannot have been so, for Dartmoor 
has hardly a Keltic name left, save upon the borders, with 
which Saxon dwellers in the lowlands must have been 
more or less famihar. 

lo History of Devonshire. 

We may call in aid, too, the Saxon place-names to 
supply the great gaps in the recorded history of the 
county which the * Saxon Chronicle ' fails to cover. They 
show that the early Saxon occupation of Devon must 
have been mainly of the individual and peaceful kind 
already suggested. The ordinary enclosure of the ' tun ' 
is scattered throughout the county, and is not predominant 
anywhere, though somewhat less frequent in the north- 
west than the south. The more defensible * stocks ' are 
commonly associated with the navigable rivers, then the 
great highways of piratical marauders, and needing rally- 
ing-points and strongholds, especially when Danish inroads 
became periodical. The frequent 'burys' are in many 
cases not of direct Saxon origin, but mark the site ol 
some old earthwork. The three most distinctive and 
notable marks of Saxon occupation are to be found in the 
affixes 'worthy,' *cot,' and 'hay,' which have a very 
peculiar and suggestive distribution. ' Worthy ' — probably 
in the main a farm-place, with enclosures to protect the 
cattle from the ravages of wild beasts — is most common 
on the borders of Dartmoor, and particularly to the south 
and west, where not only the name but the thing still 
exists in the traces of the original walls and banks. 
' Cot,' which shows the fullest evidence of individual 
action, and on the smallest scale, is almost pecuhar to 
the west and north-west. * Hay,' which represents an 
enclosure of a field character, has its chief centre in the 

There has, so far, only been found in Devon one definite 
trace of the Teutonic mark — ^the existence of a certain 
tenure of * landscore ' in the neighbourhood of Plymouth. 
But the mark would only survive in a modified form 
when Devon was absorbed into Wessex. The existence 
of the family group is not much clearer. Personal and 
individual settlements abound, and there are some few 
traces of associative eft^ort ; but we do not find, nor can 

Early History. ii 

we expect to find, precisely the same polity as is presented 
by the shires and kingdoms first settled by the Saxons, 
which was complete of its kind. The constitution of 
Devon, however, is purely Saxon from village to shire : 
each of its hundreds has a Saxon name, each of its 
ancient municipalities originated in a Saxon community ; 
and in some of its towns, as Tavistock and Ashburton-, 
the elder form of government is still easily distinguishable 
in the continued existence of the portreeve, or portgerefa, 
of the original free township, elected by the freeholders as 
representatives of the estates of the original settlers. 

As far as we may judge from the hundred lists, as 
given in ' Domesday,' the original hundreds of Devon 
numbered twenty-six, which would give a Saxon popula- 
tion of the county when Saxon government was first 
completely established of about 15,000. The population 
enumerated in ' Domesday ' is 17,434 ; and the free 
dwellers would not make the total exceed some 25,000. 

But the purport of this chapter is mainly to summarize 
the prehistoric times of Devon — ^those antecedent to the 
Saxon Conquest. That end served, the further details of 
the county history will be found under the various 


Those who believe that this island derives its name from 
Brutus, the Trojan, will have no difficulty in accepting 
the allied legend that before Brute built London be 
founded Exeter. But as these once popular articles of 
&ith are sadly at a discount, wc may dismiss them with- 
out further concern. The origin of the city is really 
unknown. The hill round which the Exe flowed long 
ages since, as it flows still, was chosen by the Kelts for 
tbe site of one of their towns, and it may have had a 
yet earlier appropriatioo. When the Romans made 
the castnim of the Exe the headquarters of a legion 
and the chief seat of their power in the extreme West 
of England, Exeter was already a place of importance 
and antiquity ; and tfnt is all we really know. It may 
have been one of the marts where the ancient Briton 
trafficked with the merchants of Phoenicia, but the 
authority for saying so is very small. Palgrave held that 
the city was a free republic before the reduction of the 
inhabitants of West Britain, and that it enjoyed fran- 
chises and liberties ' before any Anglo-Saxon king bad a 
crown upon his head or a sceptre in his hand.' At what- 
ever date, then, the first hut was built in the forest on the 
' red hill ' above the marshes of the Exe, Exeter flashes 
into history already a great town. Each race dominaat 

Exeter, 1 3 

in England has made it a stronghold — Kelt, Roman, 
Saxon, Dane, and Norman. Hardly a great party in the 
State, though its proud motto is Semper fidelis^ but has 
ruled therein in turn. 

A few feet beneath the modem city lie remains which 
show that Exeter was no Roman station in name only. 
Its claims to be the Isca Dunmoniorum have been 
seriously, but fruitlessly, questioned. Roman coins by 
the thousand, with pottery and other articles of kindred 
origin, have been found in almost every excavation within 
the circuit of the ancient walls, and are still discovered. 

When the Romans left Exeter it retained a large pro- 
portion of the specialized civilization they had imported. 
Moreover, its trading status, by keeping up a connection 
with the exterior world, would have the effect of con- 
tinuing its more pohshed characteristics. Exeter did not 
rise, therefore, to note under the Saxons when it was 
chosen as the meeting-place of a Witenagemot, and when 
iEiSelstan replaced its rude earthworks by massive walls 
and towers. It simply maintained the position which had 
belonged to it for ages. So when Eadweard the Con- 
fessor transferred thither the See of Devon and Cornwall 
from Crediton, Exeter was merely asserting its position, 
not only as the chief town of Devon, but as the most im- 
portant city of all the West. Never was this shown more 
completely than when the Conqueror appeared before its 
walls ; and when, in the eloquent words of Dr. Freeman, 
Exeter * stood forth for one moment to claim the rank of 
a free imperial city, the chief of a confederation of the 
lesser towns of the West — when she, or at least her 
rulers, professed themselves willing to receive William 
as an external lord, to pay him the tribute which had 
been paid to the old kings, but refused to admit him 
within her walls as her immediate sovereign.' And 
though the city had to yield, it yielded on such terms as 
fairly secured its ancient liberties, and left it still one of 

14 History of Devonshire. 

the four chief cities of the realm, holding equal rank with 
London, York, and Winchester. 

There has never been a time of intestine strife, from 
the dawn of history down to the Wars of the Common- 
wealth, in which Exeter has not been regarded as the 
key of the West. Well indeed might the quaint city 
chronicler, Izaacke, tell us : 

* In midst of Devon, Exeter city, seated 
Hath with ten sieges grievously been straitned.' 

In the wars between Charles and the Parliament, indeed, 
Plymouth, by its obstinate and unbroken adhesion to the 
popular side, led the fortunes of the Western Peninsula ; 
and the possession of Exeter was, for the first time, of 
secondary importance. The prestige was recovered, 
however, when William of Orange made it the focus of 
his operations, and within the walls of Exeter won the 
adhesion of Devon, Somerset, and Dorset, and thence a 

Forty royal charters are said to have been conferred 
upon the ancient city ; and royalty has been a frequent 
guest within its walls. Edward IV. gave the Corporation 
one of their swords of state; Henry VII. another sword 
and a cap of maintenance; Henry VIII. made it a 
county ; Edward VI. rewarded its stubborn resistance to 
the Western Rebels by the gift of a manor; Elizabeth 
conferred the proud motto ^ Semper fidelisy which candour 
compels the admission has been chiefly shown in a staunch 
adherence to the ruling powers ; the second Charles, as 
his mark of favour, gave the citizens the portrait of his 
Exonian sister; the third William re-established the 
ancient mint. 

Setting aside the story ot the capture of Exeter by 
Vespasian as something more than mythical, the first 
siege of the city recorded in history, if Matthew of West- 
minster is to be accepted as sufficient authority, was in 
633, when Penda was the leader of the besiegers and 

Exeter. 1 5 

Cadwalinus (whose nephew Brian held the city) the chief 
of the relieving host. There is nothing intrinsically im- 
probable in this ; and it is certain that Saxon influence 
had made itself felt in the vicinity at quite as early a 
date. There are grounds, however, for believing, as 
already shown, that the Saxon made his way in Devon to 
a large degree by the more peaceful methods of immigra- 
tion, and that it was not until the time of iEtJelstan that 
Exeter became a thoroughly Saxon town. But long 
before iEt$elstan Exeter had been harried by a foreign 
foe, more savage even than the early Saxon. The Danes 
took up their winter quarters there in 877, and in 894 
their siege of the city was raised by JElfred, who com- 
mitted the spiritual oversight of the city, and in effect the 
ecclesiastical headship of the Saxons in Devon, to his 
favourite Asser. 

The first great historical disaster recorded of Exeter is 
its capture by Swegen in 1003. Two years previously the 
Danes in large numbers had landed at Exmouth and 
marched on Exeter, which was stoutly defended. The 
forces of Devon and Somerset gathered with all speed 
under their reeves, Eadsige and Kola, and were utterly 
defeated at what is now the suburb of Pinhoe. Then the 
Danes burnt the * hams ' at Pinhoe and Clyst, ' and rode 
over the land ; and their " after " was ever worse than 
their " former," ' and they returned with great booty to 
their ships. There is a curious tradition that a small- 
annuity received by the vicar of Pinhoe represents a 
reward bestowed upon the mass priest of that place for 
his skill and daring in procuring a supply of arrows on 
this occasion, when the ammunition of the English was 
falling short. 

When the terrible massacre of the Danes by iEtSelred 
in 1002 brought Swegen upon the fated land once more, 
no place felt his revenge in more deadly fashion than 
Exeter. The city was then in the height of prosperity. 

1 6 History of Devonshire. 

Its religious establishments were so notable that in after- 
days they were said to have conferred upon it the name 
of Monkton — a statement for which there is not the least 
historical authority. It was populous, and the inhabitants 
held out bravely; but they had a traitor within their 
walls. The Norman Hugh, favourite of Queen Emma, 
and her reeve of the city, on the 19th of August, 1003, 
admitted the Danes within the walls, and Exeter was so 
ravaged with fire and sword that for the while ruin seemed 
complete and recovery hopeless. But Cnut favoured it, 
and the Confessor raised its chief monastery to cathedral 
rank ; and half a century from the Danish sack Exeter 
was prosperous once more, with nearly 500 houses. 

Nothing indicates more clearly the renewed importance 
and independent spirit of Exeter than the answer returned 
by the citizens to the Conqueror when he demanded sub- 
mission. *We will neither take any oath to the king 
nor allow him to enter our city ; but the tribute which, 
following ancient custom, we were wont to give formerly, 
the same we will give to him.' But William would have 
• no subjects after this fashion.' Marching upon Exeter, 
he was met by the civic chiefs, who promised all that he 
required, but when they returned were persuaded to forego 
their pledges and trust rather to their skill in war and the 
strength of their defences. Then, * filled with rage and 
wonder,' William assaulted the stubborn town. For 
eighteen days he unavailingly assailed it by all the 
methods known to the warriors of those times. What 
would have been the result had the siege continued it is 
hard to say ; but the citizens found that whether William 
could break down their active resistance or not, he could 
starve them. So they asked for pardon and peace, and 
found him clement. 

Exeter did not stand quite alone in its opposition to 
William. The citizens were stimulated to the course 
they took by the presence of Gytha, the mother of 

Exeter. 1 7 

Harold, who had taken refuge within their walls (she 
escaped before the surrender), and they are said to have 
roused the sister burghs of Devon to join in their resist- 
ance. That Lydford and Barnstaple did so seems proven 
by the waste recorded to have been made there since the 
Conquest, in ' Domesday.' Totnes, to all appearance, made 
quiet submission. Had all the West been united under 
one head, and that a capable one, the tide of victory might 
have been rolled back, even upon the great Norman chief. 
But this was not to be. 

The most important result, in one respect, of the sur- 
render of Exeter to the Normans was the erection of 
Rougemont Castle on the ' red hill ' dominating the city 
— a site which had been occupied by older defensive works, 
but which had never seen anything so elaborate as this 
first Norman fortalice of the West of England. Scanty 
as the remains now are, they suffice to show that it was 
once a citadel of prime importance. Building commenced 
in 1068, and could hardly have been finished when, in 
the following year, a band of brave Saxons who had taken 
up the cause of the sons of Harold assailed the city. 
They were easily beaten off, however, with heavy loss by 
the Norman garrison, probably helped by the citizens in 
their new-found loyalty. The invading host of Godwin 
and Edmund were annihilated in a fierce battle on the 
banks of the Tavy ; and there was an end once and for 
ever of all organized attempts to throw off the hated 
Norman yoke. After three years of nearly incessant 
conflict the West gave up the struggle. The last Devon- 
shire man of note to continue such resistance as might 
yet be offered was Sithric the Saxon Abbot of Tavistock, 
and he at length joined the famous Hereward in the Camp 
of Refuge at Ely. 

Such peace as could be enjoyed by a Saxon city held 
by a Norman garrison, Exeter had for just seventy years. 
Then Baldwin de Redvers, grandson of its first Norman 


1 8 History of Devonshire. 

Governor, made Rougemont a stronghold for Matilda, and 
proceeded to oppress the citizens, who, according to 
Exonian wont, continued faithful to the ruling powers. 
They sent to Stephen for help. Baldwin determined to 
destroy the city ere aid could come, and fire and sword 
had begun their work, when they were happily stayed by 
the appearance of 200 horsemen, Stephen's advanced 
guard. Ere long the whole army arrived; Baldwin's 
troops were driven within the castle, and a siege com- 
menced, which continued for three months. Force 
appeared unavailing, but when the supply of water failed 
the castle was surrendered. With it fell the last hopes 
of Matilda in the West. The whole strength of her party 
in Devon had been concentrated at Exeter. Baldwin's 
castle at Plyiiipton had been given up by its garrison 
without striking a blow ; and all Baldwin's friends had 
submitted to the King with the exception of Alured, son 
of Judhel of Totnes, who, abandoning his own indefensible 
* strength,' by a clever stratagem joined Baldwin in Rouge- 
mont. And once more, in the twelfth century as in the 
eleventh, the fate of Exeter was the doom of Devon. 

Exeter was one of the many towns upon which John 
conferred the right of mayoralty, which here indeed meant 
rather a change of name for the chief magistrate than the 
grant of new civic powers. The city had formed part of 
the dowry of Berengaria; but it was granted in 1231 to 
Richard, Earl of Cornwall and King of the Romans ; and 
in 1265 its first parliamentary representatives were elected. 
Twenty years later Edward I. held a ParHament at 
Exeter itself, at which a statute was passed to remedy 
the abuses of coroners. Edward on this occasion kept 
Christmastide within the ancient city. If the Black 
Prince, as some authorities assert, landed at Plymouth 
on his return from the battle of Poictiers, he passed 
through Exeter with his royal captive ; and though this 
is very doubtful, it is quite certain that he did visit Exeter 

Exeter. 19 

on more than one occasion, on his way to and from Ply- 
mouth, which was his favourite poi:t* In 1388 Exeter 
gave the title of Duke to John de Holland, who suffered 
attainder in 1399. Restored to his son John in 1443, 
after it had been held by Thomas Beaufort, the title was 
finally lost by the disinheritance of the third Holland 
Duke, Henry, who was reduced to beg his bread in exile. 

The city pronounced emphatically on the Lancastrian 
side, that generally taken in the West of England. 
Henry VI. was entertained for eight days in 1452 with 
the best the * church and city ' could afford, clergy and 
citizens sharing the cost. In 1469 it sustained a twelve- 
days' siege from Sir William Courtenay of Powderham, 
on behalf of Edward IV., which was raised by the media- 
tion of the clergy ; and in April, 1470, Clarence and 
Warwick made Exeter their refuge, on the failure of their 
efforts, before they went to Dartmouth and embarked for 
Calais. Margaret was at Exeter after Barnet, arranging 
for the final effort which for the time quenched the hopes 
of the Lancastrians in blood at Tewkesbury ; and Exeter 
was the place where the Lancastrians of the West 
mustered under Sir John Arundel and Sir Hugh Courte- 
nay. Clarence paid several visits to Devon in the 
Lancastrian interest. However, Exeter was able to suit 
itself to the times, for when Edward IV. came hither with 
his wife and infant son, he was received so loyally that 
he gave the Corporation the sword which is still carried 
in state before the chief magistrate. But Edward 
was well able to enforce his will, and that the citizens 

Their loyalty to the ruling powers was even more 
plainly manifested when, in 1483, Richard III. came into 
the West. Edward had been content with a purse of 
100 nobles; Richard was offered, and 'graciously ac- 
cepted/ 200. Much need there was to keep him in good 
humour, for Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset, had pro- 

2 — 2 

20 History of Devonshire. 

claimed the Earl of Richmond in the city; and it was 
during this visit to Exeter that Richard had his own 
brother-in-law, Sir Thomas St. Leger, beheaded in the 
castle-yard. It was there, too, that the incident happened 
recorded by Shakespeare in the well-known lines : 

' When last I was at Exeter, 
The mayor in courtesy showed me the castle, 
And called it Rougemont : at which name I started. 
Because a bard of Ireland told me once 
I should not live long after I saw Richmond/ 

In common speech the two words would have been almost 
identical in soiind. 

It was only to be expected that Perkin Warbeck 
should make Exeter the first object of his ambition. 
Landing at Whitsand Bay, near the Land's End, in 
September, 1497, ten days later he appeared with his 
motley host before the city walls. The citizens, as usual, 
held with the King de facto ; and the Courtenays (Edward 
Earl of Devon, and William his son) drove Warbeck off, 
after he had made desperate attacks upon the city gates, 
which he succeeded in setting on fire. Then Henry, on 
his march into the West, made Exeter his headquarters. 
Hither Warbeck was brought a prisoner ; and it was in 
the Cathedral Close that the King had the captured 
rebels brought before him 'bareheaded, in their shirts, 
and halters about their necks,' and * graciously pardoned 
them, choosing rather to wash his hands in milk by for- 
giving, than in blood by destroying them.' 

The next stage in Exonian history is supplied by the 
Western Rebellion, the most formidable popular opposition 
to the Reformation that England saw. It was almost 
wholly a rural movement, and had little support from the 
towns. The uprisings of town populations are commonly 
associated with the idea of progress, however subversively 
it may be urged ; when the country rebels, its action is 
commonly retrogressive. This movement was undoubtedly, 

Exeter. 2 1 

in one sense, economical. Twenty-four religious houses, 
some of great wealth and extensive charities, had been 
suppressed in Devon. The poorer dwellers in their 
neighbourhoods felt the loss severely. Not only did alms 
cease, but the new holders of the Church estates proved 
harder landlords than the monks. The progress of 
enclosure, and the substitution of pasturage for tillage, 
increased this disadvantage. Little was required to fan 
the vast amount of smouldering discontent thus created 
into flame. 

The occasion for the outbreak in Devon was the 
abolition of the mass, and the substitution of the Prayer- 
Book service ; and the rebellion commenced in the parish 
of Sampford Courtenay, far away from any town on the 
northern skirts of the great waste of Dartmoor. The new 
service was used there on the 9th of June, 1549 ; but on 
the following day the parish priest was compelled to 
resume his vestments and say mass as usual, by a body 
of the inhabitants, headed by William Underbill, a tailor, 
and Segar, a labourer. This popular element was evi- 
dently directed from without. From Sampford Courtenay 
the rising soon spread into the adjoining parishes. The 
efforts made by the justices to suppress it were very 
feeble and very vain. William Hellions, a Fleming 
settled .at Sampford, was killed: probably, being a 
Fleming, he was also a Protestant. Presently Somerset 
and Cornwall joined in the movement. 

Crediton was then adopted as the place of rendezvous. 
Hither flocked the disaffected from all parts of the West 
of England ; and ere long a strong force assembled, led 
by men of repute and family — Sir Thomas Pomeroy, of 
Berry-Pomeroy ; Sir Humphry Arundel, of the great 
Cornish family of that name ; Coffin, Winslade, and 
others. Sir Peter and Sir Gawain Carew, marching on 
Crediton, found the roads barricaded, and met with a 
strong resistance. The rebels had garrisoned a row of 

22 History of Devonshire. 

barns with matchlock-men, and these were dislodged by 
setting the bams on fire. Thenceforward the * Barns of 
Crediton ' became a rallying-cry. The Carews were 
unable to make head against the storm. Marching upon 
Exeter 10,000 strong, the rebels called the city to sur- 
render. The summons was refused, and, assault being 
unavailing, siege commenced. 

Lord Russell, then Lord Lieutenant of the county,, 
hastened to the aid of the Carews ; but his force was 
small, and until he could gather strength he resorted to 
negotiation. The rebels were willing to make peace, but 
it must be upon their own terms — and these terms show 
clearly enough that the rising by this time was no longer 
a popular outburst, if it had ever really been so. The 
proposals were not such as would come from a body of 
country folk, however eager for their old faith. Dictated 
in a professional sense so far as the religious articles 
were . concerned, in their economical relations they were 
prompted by an aversion to new blood. 

It was demanded that the Six Articles should be 
observed, as in the reign of Henry VIIL ; that Catholic 
worship should be restored in all its details; that they 
who would not worship the Sacrament hung over the 
high altar should die like heretics ; that the Bible and all 
books of Scripture in English should be called in, * for 
we are informed that otherwise the clergy shall not of 
long time confound the heretics;' that Dr. Moreman 
and Dr. Crispin should be sent them, and have livings 
given to preach the Catholic faith ; that Cardinal Pole 
should be pardoned and promoted to the King's Council ; 
that no gentleman should have more servants than one,. 
* except he may dispense one hundred mark land, and for 
every hundred mark we think it reasonable that he may 
have a man ;' that the half part of all abbey and chantry 
lands in each county should be appropriated to establish 
therein, in the place of two of the chief abbeys, *' a place 

Exeter. 23 

for devout persons, which shall pray for the King and the 

Such demands were of course inadmissible ; but Russell 
continued in his headquarters at Honiton until he was 
strengthened by the arrival of sundry German and Italian 
mercenaries. The first skirmish with the insurgents was 
at Feniton Bridge, whence he returned to Honiton. Then 
he met and beat them at Woodbury, and followed them 
up through the Clyst Valley, inflicting such loss upon 
them on the 5th of August at St. Mary Clyst, though 
they fought desperately, that the siege was raised. Most 
of the rebels who escaped retreated to Sampford, and 
there, in its cradle, the rebellion as an organized move- 
ment was finally crushed. The leaders were sent to 
London, and with the exception of Sir Thomas Pomeroy, 
tried and executed. He saved his life, but lost his estates. 
Of the common sort 4,000 were slain. For miles round 
Exeter the country was so harried and spoiled that for 
years the marks of desolation remained. Welch, the 
stalwart vicar of St. Thomas by Exeter, who had been 
very active in the siege, was hanged in full canonicals 
on his own church tower ; and there his body remained 
until the accession of Mary turned the rebel into a 

This siege of Exeter lasted from the 2nd of July to the 
6th August. During the last ten days the citizens suffered 
severely from famine, and were reduced to live on horse- 
flesh and * horse-bread.' Nor were they free from other 
difiiculties, for the Catholic party in the city outnumbered 
the Protestant, and treachery was threatened. Fortu- 
nately, whatever their faith, the Mayor and his brethren 
were loyal. They were rewarded by the renewal of their 
charter, and the grant of the valuable manor of Exe 

In 1555 Exeter had some share in the effort made by 
the Carews before mentioned, with Sir Thomas Dennis 

24 History of Devonshire. 

and others, to arouse popular feeling against the reception 
of King Phihp in England. But this hardly reached 
beyond a demonstration ; and Peter escaped to the Con- 
tinent in a vessel belonging to Walter Ralegh, Sir 
Walter's father. 

At the commencement of the war between Charles I. 
and his Parliament Exeter was seized by the Earl of 
Bedford, Lord Lieutenant of the county, and garrisoned by 
him in the Roundhead interest. The Earl of Stamford, 
defeated at Stratton in May, 1643, was the Governor. He 
was at first besieged by Sir John Berkeley, and afterwards 
by Prince Maurice, and surrendered in the September 
following his defeat. There is little doubt that the bulk 
of the inhabitants were Royalists, for the appointment of 
Sir John Berkeley as Governor was received with great 
joy. Exeter thenceforth was regarded as one of the most 
secure Cavalier strongholds in the kingdom. 

In May, 1644, having bid her husband farewell for the 
last time at Abingdon, Henrietta Maria took up her 
abode in Exeter; and on Sunday, the i6th of June 
following, the Princess Henrietta Anne, afterwards 
Duchess of Orleans, was born. The Earl of Essex was 
then coming into the West, and the Queen asked him to 
refrain from assaulting the city, and subsequently to give 
her a safe-conduct to Bath. Essex would give a pass to 
London, but in no other way would help her. Ill and 
suffering as she was, she had therefore to escape. The 
river was blockaded, and she fled by land, leaving her 
child behind. Passing through Okehampton, Launceston, 
and Truro, she reached Falmouth, set sail on the 14th July, 
and on the 15th landed at Brest. Some wonderful stories 
are told of the difficulties and privations of her escape ; 
but there is excellent evidence that she was escorted by 
Prince Maurice to Launceston, if not beyond, where she 
was among friends, and that she was never in any real 

Exeter. 25 

The Exonian Princess, who had been left in charge of 
Lady Moreton and Sir John Berkeley, was baptized in 
the font yet remaining in the cathedral Her portrait in 
the Exeter Guildhall, by Sir Peter Lely, was presented to 
the city, as a recognition of the kindness of the citizens, 
by Charles II. in 1671. She had then been dead a year, 
and there were grave suspicions that her death was caused 
by poison. She was first seen by her father in July, 1644, 
when he visited the city in company with Prince Charles, 
and was welcomed by the Corporation with the acceptable 
gift of iyyo. 

Exeter, which had several important outposts in the 
neighbouring parishes, was blockaded by Fairfax in the 
spring of 1646, and was surrendered to him in April of 
that year. The Princess, who had been duly cared for in 
the articles of surrender, was taken to Paris by Lady 

The city saw the closing scenes of the fruitless rising 
for the restoration of Charles II., under Penruddock and 
Groves, in 1655. They proclaimed Charles II. King of 
England at South Molton, but before they could gather 
their forces to a head, were captured and conveyed to 
Exeter, where they were afterwards tried. Penruddock 
and Groves, both Wiltshire men, were beheaded in the 
castle, others of their associates hung at Heavitree, and 
the bulk banished and sold into slavery. The Restoration 
was, however, hailed at Exeter even more heartily than at 
the other boroughs in the West, whose loyalty was, for 
the most part, somewhat effusive. The temper of the 
citizens, indeed, changed as time went on ; and Jeffries at 
Exeter enacted some of the direst cruelties of his Bloody 
Assize. But he left popular feeUng only dormant, not 

* William the Deliverer * made his entry into the city by 
the West Gate on the 9th November, 1688, four days 
after his landing at Brixham. Lord Mordaunt and Dr. 

26 History of Devonshire. 

Burnet on the previous day had found the West Gate 
closed, but without barricade or fastening, so that it was 
speedily opened. The civic authorities were then on the 
side of the Stuarts. The Bishop and the Dean fled, but 
the Mayor contented himself with ordering the gate to be 
closed, and with excusing himself for receiving William on 
the score that he had taken an oath to his lawful King 
James, by whom he had recently been knighted. The 
inhabitants generally welcomed William gladly, and 
though the day was very wet and rainy, he made his 
entrance with considerable state. The Deanery had been 
chosen as his residence ; and thence he crossed the yard 
to the cathedral, where Tt Deum was sung for his safe 
arrival in England. The Prince occupied the Bishop's 
throne, and the cathedral was crowded. When Burnet 
read the Declaration, setting forth the reasons of the 
invasion, such of the cathedral clergy as were present left 
the place, while the majority of the congregation responded 
to Burnet's *God save the Prince of Orange ' with a hearty 
* Amen.' 

At Exeter William remained several days, holding his 
Court at the Deanery, recruiting his army, and gradually 
receiving the accession of men of influence in Devon and 
the adjoining counties of Somerset and Dorset. It was at 
the suggestion of Sir Edward Seymour that the * gentle- 
men of Devon ' formed a * general association,' and 
formally pledged themselves to the Prince's cause by 
signing a Declaration drawn up by Burnet. By this time 
the Mayor and Aldermen thought it wise to pay William 
all respect : and the Dean not only found his way back> 
but enrolled himself as one of William's followers. Before 
the Prince left Exeter the conflict was practically over^ 
and the fate of James was sealed. The welcome of the 
people of the ancient city, and the general, if somewhat 
tardy, adhesion of the men of greatest weight in the West 
of England, had won the battle before a blow was struck. 

Exeter. 27 

This visit of William of Orange is the last great link that 
connects Exeter with the vital national history. Thence- 
forward its record is that of a more local life. 

The ecclesiastical history of Exeter is to a large extent 
that of Devon likewise. We have dismissed as altogether 
idle the idea that in Saxon times it was called Monktown 
from the number of its rehgious edifices. Still, the out- 
lying parish of St. Sidwells takes name from Sativola, or 
Sidwella, a virgin martyr said to have been beheaded with 
a scythe, and buried here in 740 ; and it was to Exeter 
that Winfrith, the future apostle of Germany, came to be 
taught some half century earlier. But the definite eccle- 
siastical history of the city begins with the transference 
thither by Leofric of the seat of the See of Devon and 
Cornwall, and the setting up of his bishopstool in the 
monastery of St. Mary and St. Peter. 

Mr. Davidson holds there is good evidence to show that 
this monastery was founded by ^tJelstan, probably in the 
year 926; and that it was at the great gemot held at 
Exeter, April 16, 928, that ^Selstan's laws were pro- 
mulgated, and the Church consecrated. This minster is 
believed to have occupied the site of the east part of the 
present Lady Chapel of the cathedral. It was restored 
under Eadgar in 965, and almost entirely rebuilt by Cnut 
in 1019. To this already ancient Saxon foundation, then, 
Leofric came in 1050. The occasion was one of singular 
pomp, for the Bishop was personally installed in his new 
chair by Eadweard the Confessor himself and Eadgytha, 
his Queen, the one taking him by the right hand and the 
other by the left, praying blessings upon all that should 
increase the see, and denouncing ' a fearful and execrable 
curse ' upon all who should diminish or take aught there- 
from 1 

There was need of this execration if it could have been 
made effective, especially if its retrospective action could 

28 History of Devonshire. 

have been assured, ^^elstan is said to have endowed the 
monastery with twenty-six manors, and with one-third of 
the relics which he collected. Other gifts had undoubtedly 
been made. Yet when Leofric took to the minster, 
all its lands in possession consisted of two hides at Ide, 
near Exeter, with seven head of cattle ! When he died 
in 1073 he left it again wealthy. He had recovered lands 
at Culmstock, Branscombe, Salcombe, St. Mary Church, 
Staverton, Sparkwell, Morchard, Sidwell, Huish, Brixton, 
Topsham (taken away again by Harold), Stoke Canon, 
Sidbury, Newton St. Cyres, Norton, and Traysbeare ; 
and he added to the estates of the see of his own gift 
lands at Bampton, Aston, Chimney, Dawlish, Holcombe, 
and Southwood. In a very real and practical sense, 
therefore, and not by title merely, Leofric was the founder 
of the See of Exeter. Moreover, he entirely reformed the 
foundation upon which his bishopric had been grafted. 
Originally there were three religious houses within the 
Close — a nunnery, a monastery, presumably founded by 
iEt5elred about 868, and the minster of St. Mary and St. 
Peter. The ravages of the Danes made the monks and 
nuns fly in terror, the buildings being destroyed and the 
charters burnt, and but for the religious zeal of Cnut there 
would in all probability have been an end of iE^elstan's 
minster altogether. What Leofric did was to remove 
the monks and nuns, adding both the nunnery and 
iEt5elred's monastery to the minster, and establishing in 
the latter canons under the Lotharingian rule. 

No part of the present cathedral saw the stately 
enthronement of Leofric, though it has been suggested 
that the little chapel of the Holy Ghost, next the Chapter 
House, may be a portion of the Saxon fane. The Norman 
cathedral was begun by William Warelwast, nephew of 
the Conqueror, and Bishop of Exeter (i 107- 1 136). By 
him were built the great transeptal towers, with the choir 
and its apse, and the eastern bay of the nave ; but this 

Exeter. 29 

work was not completed until the episcopate of Henry 
Marshall (1194-1206), who added the Lady Chapel. The 
north and south towers were thus transeptal from the 
first, and not, as formerly thought, the western towers of 
the Norman building adapted as transepts some century 
and a half after they were erected. 

Less than a century elapsed from the completion of the 
Norman cathedral ere it began to be replaced by the 
present structure, one of the finest examples of sym- 
metrical Decorated Gothic in existence. Bishop Quivil 
(1280-1291) was the founder of the new structure, and the 
beginner, in the Lady Chapel and transepts, of the work 
of transformation, which was continued in the choir by 
Bishop Bitton (1292-1307), and not completed — though 
Quivil's plans were evidently followed — until Bishop 
Grandisson (1327- 1369) carried out the nave. The noble 
west front, with its * statues of prophets and apostles, 
martyrs, saints, and kings ' — a screen of great interest and 
of singular beauty, even in decay — originated with Bishop 
Brantyngham (1370-1394). The Chapter House was 
built by Bishop Bruere (1224-1244), but took its present 
form in the episcopates of Bishops Lacy, Neville, and 
Bothe (1420-1478). The two chief accessory features of 
the interior — ^the choir screen, which now bears the 
organ, originally la pulpytte^ and the magnificent episcopal 
throne, with its towering canopy of carved oak — are the 
work of Bishop Stapledon (1308-1327), who also erected 
the elaborate sedilia. The misereres are the earliest 
extant in this country, and are assigned to Bishop Bruere. 
Such are the chief master builders of this noble fane; 
but for four centuries from the date of the accession of 
Warelwast there was hardly a bishop to whom the 
cathedral was not indebted for some addition in structure 
or detail. We see it now, however, almost fresh, so fex 
as the interior is concerned, firom the restoration of Sir 
Gilbert Scott, which gave rise to an amount of controversy 

30 History of Devonshire. 

on points of technicality and taste unusual even in such 
relations. But there has never been any difference of 
opinion respecting the beauty of the modern carved work 
which he designed, and which Messrs. Farmer and 
Brindley executed. 

Several of the Bishops are buried in the cathedral, 
Leofric first of the number. Among the holders of the 
see who won more than local repute and fame were 
Leofric, who was Lord Chancellor; Walter Stapledon, 
Lord High Treasurer, founder of Stapledon's Inn at Ox- 
ford, now Exeter College ; Bishop Brantyngham, who 
held the same office ; Bishop Stafford, Lord Privy Seal, 
who completed the foundation of Exeter College ; Bishop 
Neville, Lord Chancellor; Bishops Fox and Oldham, 
founders of Corpus Christi College; Bishop Coverdale, 
translator of the Bible; Bishop Hall, afterwards of 
Norwich; and Bishop Trelawny, one of the seven Bishops 
sent to the Tower by James IL, and the hero of the 
famous burden (modernized) : 

* And shall they 5com Tre, Pol, and Pen, 

And shall Trelawny die ? 
There's twenty thousand Cornishmen 
Will know the reason why/ 

Among the religious houses of Exeter a,nd its immediate 
vicinity which fell at the Dissolution were the Benedictine 
priory of St. Nicholas, originally with the church of St. 
Olave an appendage of Battle Abbey, and founded by the 
Conqueror ; the Cluniac priory of St. James ; Franciscan 
and Dominican convents ; and the Benedictine priories of 
Cowick and Polsloe (nuns). The priory of St. Nicholas 
became independent under Rufus, and, like the houses of 
the Carmelites at Plymouth, and the Benedictines at Buck- 
fast, portions of the site have been recently purchased by 
the Roman Catholics, and in part restored to the olden uses. 

Most notable among the Exeter parishes is that of St. 
Petrock, which lies in the very heart of the ancient city, 

Exeter. 3 1 

and is less than two acres and three quarters in extent. 
It has given Exeter a long array of distinguished citizens ; 
indeed, as Mr. R. Dymond says, * The fortunes of more 
than one distinguished English family were founded on 
shrewd bargains driven by some mercafitile ancestor 
within that small area.' The dedication to a British saint 
appears to define the parish as part of that division of 
Exeter in which for a time the Briton dwelt side by side 
with the Saxon. There is little doubt, moreover, that it 
was one of the twenty-nine city churches to which the 
Conqueror directed the payment by the city provost of a 
silver penny yearly out of the city taxes. Its most notable 
antiquarian feature is the fact that it has an all but 
complete series of churchwarden accounts from the year 
1425, presumed to be unrivalled for antiquity and con- 

Exeter, indeed, is rich in the matter of local records. 
At the fine old Guildhall in the High Street, whiqh dates 
from 1466, though its front is late Elizabethan (1593), are 
the municipal archives, extending back to the thirteenth 
century, arranged and calendared by Mr. Stuart Moore, 
who did the same for the muniments of the Dean and 
Chapter. Among the chief treasures of the latter the 
chiefest is the volume known as the * Exon Domesday ;' 
but there are still several relics of the library given by 
Leofric to his minster, though his Missal and several 
other works have found their way to the Bodleian. The 
most important volume of Anglo-Saxon date remaining at 
Exeter is the unique collection of Anglo-Saxon poetry 
known as the ' Codex Exoniensis ;' and the miscellaneous 
documents include some authentic and important Anglo- 
Saxon charters. 

By th e dea th of Henry VIII. Devonshire had become 
largely Puritan, though the l'najuiity~^.4ha.iDhabitants 
were probably still Catholic." ' Dhe inartyr was burnt under 
Henry, Thomas Benet, who sufEered at Exeter, Only 

History of Devonshire. 

one perished under Mary, a poor woman of Launceston^ 
called Agnes Prest. But Cardmaker, alias Taylor, Chan- 
cellor of Wells, burnt at Smithfield in 1555, was an 
Exonian. The absence of religious activity in this reign 
seems to pro\'fe that the Protestantism of Devon was not 
very pronounced. The fact that under Elizabeth the 
Visitation Commissioners left so much untouched in the 
churches, and that so many magnificent rood screens 
remained down to the day of churchwardenism, and even 
yet continue, clearly points also to the existence in the 
county of a Catholic element of some strength and im- 
portance. Under Elizabeth Puritanism took deep root 
in the West ; and the establishment of ' Prophesyings of 
•the Clergy ' paved the way for the formal introduction of 
Presbyterianism. The seed then sown sprang into active 
life in the ensuing reigns, and was fostered with vigorous 
growth by the proceedings of the Court of High Com- 
mission. The records of that tribunal contain the names 
of Devonshire men and women of all ranks of society — 
members of the oldest and most respected families side 
by side with those of poor husbandmen and handicraft 
folk, recorded only in these dismal annals of the time. 
The most remarkable point is the fact that they are 
"'almost wholly from the rural districts and the smaller 
towns. Was it the recognition of the growing strength 
of popular feeling that caused the larger communities to 
be passed by ? Assuredly it was not because they were 
wanting in Puritanism, for they were its very heart and 
life. Thus when Thomas Ford, born at Brixton, nigh 
Plymouth, preached against the altar set up by Dr. 
Fewens at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was expelled 
the University, the ^rporation of Plymouth chose him 
as their lecturer. It took a letter under the royal sign- 
manual and one from Laud to make them change their 
minds. That they had purely submitted to circumstances 
was abundantly evident^ not many years later, when Ply- 

Exeter. 33 

mo uth proved the on e unconq uerablejcentre of Western 

in a. county^ which sa^y so niuch sharp ' controversy ' 
during the strug gle b etween Charles and the Parliament, 
it was inevitable that religious institutions should be 
largely aifected. Nowhere were the changes so great as in 
Exeter, because mTnoLplace was^the Cji^irr.h of Ejagland so 
strongly or so influentially represented. The cathedral was 
denuded of its clergy and divided into * East and West 
Peters ' by a ' Babylonish wall,' while sundry of the parish 
churches were dismantled and sold, being recovered and 
put to their former uses, however, after the Restoration. 

Walker (himself an Exonian), in his * Sufferings of the 
Clergy,'jestimates the total number of deprivations under 
the~"Commonwealth in Devon at a third of the whole 
body of clergy. The county then contained 394 parish 
churches. He gives the names himself of just 200 as 
deprived ; but when the doubtfuls are weeded out, errors 
corrected, and allowance made for pluralities, 128 remain, 
which agrees very closely with Walker's own calculation. 
Most of the ejections were from rural parishes ; but while 
Episcopacy was represented in almost all the large towns, 
Presbyterianism had gained so great a hold in many 
localities that the abolition of Episcopacy made no 
change in them ; and subsequent events proved that 
there must have been left in the livings of the county a 
considerable body of clergy who were either Episcopalian 
at heart, or who knew how to trim their course to suit 
the favour of the party in power. 

When the Act of Uniformity was passed, in 1662, 
132 Presbyterian and Independent ministers were ejected. 
The Episcopalians sequestrated and the Puritans ejected 
were thus about equal in number ; but the areas of de- 
privation were by no means identical. In 44 towns 
and parishes, including nearly all the chief centres of 
population, both parties suffered in turn. In about 70, 


34 History of Devonshire. 

Episcopalians only were turned out; in about 50, only 
Presbyterians and Independents; but at one time or 
another, more than half the parishes in the county were 
affected. Of the sequestrated Episcopalians, some 50 
regained their livings. Of those who had replaced them, 
still more conformed and retained under the Bishop 
what they had received under the Presbytery. Most of 
the ejected Puritans endeavoured to keep their people 
together ; and about one-half availed themselves of the 
provisions of the short-lived Declaration of Indulgence 
of 1672. When William of Orange landed at Torbay, 
among the heartiest in their welcome were those of the 
ejected who remained, and their faithful followers. They 
were in the main of the middle ranks of society, but 
included many members of the leading families. 

It is rather a remarkable fact that the old Presbyterian 
organization of the county still survives. On the i8th 
October, 1655, there was founded the Exeter Assembly, 
an association of Presbyterian ministers (to which Inde- 
pendents were afterwards admitted), intended to deal 
with matters of doctrine and discipline. The original 
articles, signed by 131 ministers, and the original minutes, 
are still preserved ; and the Assembly, which in process 
of time became first Arian and then Unitarian, still holds 
an annual meeting for worship and business. The last 
survivor in Devon of the ejected of 1662 was John Knight 
of Littlehempston, who died in 1715. The minutes of the 
Assembly show that there were then in existence 59 
congregations which had been founded by his brethren 
and himself, with a total attendance of 21,750. Of these, 
30 continue to this day unbroken and with many off- 
shoots. In more than half the parishes or places for 
which licenses were granted in 1672, the elder Non- 
conformity still remains. 

There is the fullest evidence that for more than 400 

Exeter. 35 

years Exeter was the seat first of a Saxon and then of 
a Norman mint. The earliest coin extant is a silver 
penny of iElfred, who began his reign in 872 ; and the 
latest is a penny of Edward I., 1272-1307. During 
this period at least 254 varieties are known to have 
been struck, in the reigns of Alfred, EfSelstan, Ead- 
mund, Eadred, Eadwig, Eadgar, Eadweard the Martyr, 
iEt$elred II., Cnut, Harold I., Harthacnut, Eadweard the 
Confessor, Harold II., William I., William II., Henry I., 
Stephen, Henry II., John, Henry III., Edward I. The 
coins are all pennies ; and the most numerous are those 
of iEtJelred, Cnut, and the Confessor, which comprise 
more than five-sixths of those known to have been struck 
before the Conquest. More than 100 types and varieties 
exist of iEISelred alone; and the largest collection is 
that in the Royal Cabinet at Stockholm, relics of the 
ancient Danegeld which iEtSelred was the first to impose. 

After the lapse of some three and a half centuries, 
the Exeter mint was again worked by Charles I. during 
his struggle with the Parliament. Most of his coins 
ane dated 1644; but many of the 37 varieties known 
to exist were struck in the following year. They were 
all of silver, and include ' half-pounds,' crowns, half- 
crowns, shillings, sixpences, groats, threepennies, and 

William III. was the last to employ the Exeter mint. 
His coins were half-crowns, shillings, and sixpences ; 
dated 1696 and 1697. 

Of the seventeenth-century tradesmen's tokens, Exeter 
issued a far larger proportion — just 90 — of the 360 known 
to have been struck in Devon than any other town; and 
there could hardly be a better index to its relative import- 
ance. Norwich alone, in all the provinces, had so many 
issuers. Plymouth struck barely half the number. 

The trade of Exeter forms a feature in its history 
almost comparable in importance with its ecclesiastical 


36 History of Devonshire. 

record. The commerce of the ancient city in Saxon times 
led to the settlement therein of so large a number of 
foreigners, that they were compelled by the inhabitants 
to take part in the resistance offered to William. Woollen 
manufacture became the staple industry, and so continued 
until the decay of the cloth trade of Devon, in the latter 
half of the eighteenth century. In 1458 the Tuckers and 
the Cordwainers had a fierce dispute anent precedency in 
the civic processions. The Cordwainers and Curriers had 
been incorporated in 1387 ; and the Tuckers must have 
had something like the same antiquity, for the decision 
was that they were of equal dignity, and that they were 
to walk abreast, one of each trade. The Weavers and 
Fullers, however, into whose hands the chief business of 
the city eventually fell, were not incorporated until 1490 ; 
and it was only in 1540 that the Exeter folk successfully 
established their right against the inhabitants of Crediton 
to maintain the weekly woollen market which they had 
founded ten years earlier. To such dimensions did the 
woollen trade of Exeter grow that goods to the value of 
half a million were annually exported to foreign marts — 
to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, and Holland. More- 
over, the Exeter merchants were travelled men, speaking 
many languages fluently; and Sir John Bowring, the 
greatest linguist of the West of England, and one of the 
most distinguished of Exonians, records his early in- 
debtedness to their instructions. Sir John's father was 
himself a woollen manufacturer; and though Sir John 
died so recently as 1872, he remembered well when a 
' large proportion of the working classes of Exeter wore 
a bright green apron of serge, fastened with a girdle of 
the richest scarlet. These were the tuckers of the 
privileged guild of fullers, weavers, and shearmen,' whose 
hall still stands on Fore Street Hill, now the meeting-place 
of the oldest lodge of Masonry in the county. This great 
and flourishing fraternity Sir John lived to see * reduced 

Exeter. 37 

to a few score of ancient people . . still the recipients of 
the bounties, and many of them the occupants of the 
almshouses built or endowed by those who had prospered 
in the woollen trade.' Decay seems to have arisen from 
various causes. For one thing, masters and men were 
thoroughly bound up in the trammels of a restrictive 
polity, which prevented the adaptation of the trade to the 
changed conditions of the markets. The hour of trial 
came, but not the men to lead. The introduction of 
machinery, discountenanced in every way by the members 
of the old guilds, but fostered elsewhere, also played its 
part. But even yet the manufacture flourishes in a few 
Devonshire towns, which had the advantage of enterprise 
and skill; and the Devon serges retain in Eastern countries 
the reputation they have enjoyed for centuries, and win 
their way to wider appreciation at home. 

The external trade of the city was so considerable seven 
centuries since that Isabella de Fortibus, Countess of 
Devon, a lady of great force of character, having 
quarrelled with the citizens, as the readiest means of 
injuring them threw what has since been called Countess 
Weir across the Exe. The citizens appealed to the law, 
which was clearly on their side ; and at length an opening 
was made in the weir through which ships could pass. 
A quarrel with an Earl of Devon a century later led in 
process of time to the construction of the finest com- 
mercial undertaking of which England in its day could 
boast. Izacke gives a gossiping narrative of what he 
alleges to be the cause of the whole affair. While Exeter 
market, as a rule, was noted for its supply of fish, one un- 
lucky day there happened to be but three * pots ' on sale, 
when the caterers of the EarLand of the Bishop both 
came to buy. Each wanted the whole; neither would 
give way. So Mayor Beynion was appealed to, and 
settled the matter by giving one pot to each of the 
disputants, and keeping the third for the general public. 

38 History ,0/ Devonshire. 

* Whereupon the Earl> in his high displeasure, maliciously 
destroyed the haven.' . Of a truth, * a mighty matter about 
a pott of ffish/ This was in 1311. In 1316, Hugh 
Courtenay neither forgetting nor forgiving, matters 
became even worse. ' His displeasure grew into anger, 
and from thence to an extreme hatred and revenge, and 
he devised all possible means to destroy the city !' Be 
all this as it may^ — and even important communities like 
Exeter had often difficulty in holding their own against 
such powerful neighbours as the Courtenays — the damage 
done to the Exe led in process of time to the formation 
of the Exeter Canal, by which vessels reach the city quays 
from the sea — one of the earliest works of the kind in the 
kingdom. It was opened in 1566, one Trew being the 

The enterprise of the citizens had been developed by a 
great mercantile brotherhood. The ' Guild of Merchant 
Adventurers of the City of Exeter originated in troublous 
times. In July, 1549, while Lord Russell lay at Honiton, 
unable to advance against the Western rebels for want of 
men and means, three men of the old city — ^John Bodlie, 
Thomas Prestwood, and John Periam — raised the funds 
which enabled him to resume his march, and crush the 
rising. This, and the loyalty of which it was but an 
illustration, led, ten years later, to the charter, by 
Elizabeth, of the Merchant Adventurers, who commenced 
operations in August, 1560. It was high time that some- 
thing should be done to encourage commerce, even if 
after the fashion of these days by way of monopoly. In 
1557 it was reported to the Queen that no man in the 
city or county of Exeter had any ship of his own, neither 
means to take up vessels. Too much of their money had 
been disbursed * to the Queue's mat^** by way of lone.' One 
of the first important acts of the guild was to grapple with 
this point ; and we find the brethren, in 1566, taking up 
certain vessels on freight on behalf of the Corporation, 

Exeter, 39 

and thus establishing a foreign carrying-trade with ships 
that are noted as belonging to the city, as well as to other 
ports in the county. The ventures were for Spain and 
Portugal, and the goods sought wines and raisins. 
Subsequently this special branch of trade was conducted 
by a Spanish Guild. As years rolled on the ideas of the 
Merchant Adventurers enlarged, and their business rami- 
fications extended to the New World. They would have 
nothing to do with Ralegh's attempts in Virginia; but 
they adventured with Adrian Gilbert and John Davis in 
their voyages for the ' discovery of China,' the special 
object being to open up a trade in woollens. They 
contributed also to the last expedition of Sir Humphry 
Gilbert, though they thought the ' tyme of the yeare to 
be far spente.' They did not respond to the invitation 
to join with Drake and Norris, on behalf of Don Antonio. 
They were traders, and apparently kept strictly within 
commercial limits, so far as the fashion of the times 
allowed. Nothing is known of the circumstances under 
which this once important corporation came to an end. 
It is believed to have flourished most under the first 
James, and to have collapsed during the troublous times 
of the Civil Wars. Practically nothing whatever was 
known of its internal affairs until its early minutes were 
discovered among the archives of the Weavers' Guild, and 
made the text a few years since of an admirable narrative 
by Mr. William Cotton. 

Notwithstanding all efforts at rivalship, Exeter has 
maintained its position as the chief town in Devon 
worthily. Its manufactures and special industries have 
one by one died out. In general commerce it has been 
long distanced by communities more favourably placed 
with regard to the sea ; but it still enjoys the advantages 
conferred by the neighbourhood of more notable families 
than are to be found so thickly planted in any other part 
of Devon. It remains the capital of the shire. The court- 

40 History of Devonshire. 

house, which has replaced its ancient castle, continues the 
seat of county government. Its citizens have never been 
found wanting in public spirit. Witness to this latter 
point a host of institutions and charities, and the 
Museum, Free Library, and Art Gallery, the finest build- 
ing devoted to the promotion of science, literature, and 
art, west of Bristol. An historic past has been worthily 
succeeded by an active present. 

Exeter has a marvellous muster-roll of worthies. 
Archbishop Langton, the framer of Magna Charta, is 
reputedly of Exonian birth. Archbishop Baldwin, who 
died at Tyre in 1191, while engaged on a crusade, was 
certainly a native of the city ; and so was his contemporary 
Josephus Iscanus, *the Swan of Isca,' the most distin- 
guished of our mediaeval Latinists. Then we have Cardinal 
Robert PuUein, who came from Exeter to Oxford in the 
reign of Henry I., the reviver of learning in that university. 
John Hoker, alias Vowell, the first historian of the 
county, was born at Exeter about 1524, and died in 1601 ; 
and his far more famous nephew, Richard Hooker the 
* judicious,' saw the light at Heavitree in 1553, and died 
in 1600. It is worthy of note that while Exeter thus pro- 
duced the chief defender of the Established Church, it gave 
Puritanism also one of its most prominent leaders in John 
Reynolds — born at Pinhoe 1549, died 1607 — ^the chief 
representative of Puritanism at the Hampton Court 
Conference, and one of the translators of the Authorized 
Version of the Bible. John Reynolds was originally a 
Catholic, his brother William a Protestant. Each sought 
to convert the other, and succeeded ! Contemporary with 
these were the Bodleys — ^Thomas, Jonas, and Laurence ; 
the first and most famous being the founder of the 
Bodleian Library. 

The farmhouse of Dunscombe, near Crediton, which 
still shows traces of its former importance, is the ancient 

Exeter. 4 1 

seat of this family. Sir Thomas Bodley was born at 
Exeter in 1544, and left England at the early age of 
twelve with his father, John Bodley, who was a staunch 
Protestant, and lived an exile at Geneva until the accession 
of Elizabeth. His studies, begun in the university of 
Geneva, were then continued at Oxford. His chief public 
work was done in connection with the Court, the Queen 
employing him in many embassies and negotiations of the 
first importance. His public career lasted from 1583, when 
he was made gentleman usher to the Queen, until 1597, 
when he retired from pursuits found both toilsome and 
vexatious, and entered upon the great work which will 
make his name ever memorable — the refounding of the 
library which had originated with the *good Duke' 
Humphry of Gloucester. He died in 1612. 
* Lord Chief Baron Peryam (1534-1604) was another 
worthy of Elizabethan Exeter, and so in part was the 
famous Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619), the most dis- 
tinguished English portrait and miniature painter of his 
day. Son of a leading citizen named Robert Hilliard, he 
was brought up to the trade of a goldsmith and jeweller, 
and acquired such fame by his portraits of royalty and 
members of distinguished families, that Donne said of him : 

*A hand or ey.e 
By Hilliard drawn, is worth a history 
By a worse painter made.' 

Hilliard's only recorded predecessor in Devonian art wa^ 
John Shute, of CuUompton, who also worked in miniature, 
and who died in 1563. Contemporary with the later 
years of Hilliard was the first sCulptor of note produced 
by the county, Nicholas Stone (1586-1647), and almost an 
Exonian, seeing that he was bom at Woodbury. 

The seventeenth century yields such names as Sir 
William Morice (1602-1676), Secretary of State to Charles 
II.; James Gandy (1619-1689), an admirable portrait- 
painter and colourist; Sir Bartholomew Shower, lawyer 

4^ History of Devonshire. 

and reporter, and his brother John, an eminent Dissent- 
ing divine ; Tom D'Urfey (1628-1723), wit and song- 
writer, the descendant of one of the colony of Huguenot 
families settled at Exeter, to whom the church of St. 
Olave was assigned as a place of worship ; the Princess 
Henrietta (1644-1670) ; Simon Ockley (1678-1720), orient- 
alist and historian; and Lord Chancellor King, Baron 
Oakham, the son of a grocer, and nephew of Locke 

Then of the eighteenth century we have Thomas Hud- 
son (1701-1779), the fashionable portrait-painter of his day, 
and ' master' of Reynolds ; Francis Hayman (1708-1776), 
the chief historical painter of his time, and the first 
Librarian of the Royal Academy; William Jackson (1730- 
1803), the composer ; Sir Vicary Gibbs (1752-1820), Chief 
Justice of the Common Pleas and Chief Baron of the 
Exchequer ; Lord Gifford (1779-1826), Chief Justice of the 
Common Pleas and Master of the Rolls ; John Herman 
Merivale (1779-1844), the accomplished author and 
reviewer; Sir W. FoUett, born at Topsham (1798-1845), 
Attorney-General ; and Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), the 
most many-sided of literary Exonians, familiar with every 
European language, and the leading Oriental tongues ; a 
political economist of the school of Bentham, his mentor 
and friend ; a traveller and a diplomatist ; the investiga- 
tor of the commercial relations of England with the 
Continent*; the negotiator of several important treaties ; 
and sometime Governor of Hong Kong. 

The heaviest loss Exeter has had of late is that of 
Edward Bowring Stephens, A.R.A. (1815-1882), the most 
distinguished sculptor the West of England has produced, 
of whose skill Exeter boasts the possession of some of the 
finest examples. 

Many of the local notables were connected with the 
woollen trade, and the little erewhile suburban parish of 
St. Leonards can claim at least five peerages, with a score 

Exeter, 43 

of baronetages and knightages, for the descendants of its 
quondam inhabitants. The great mercantile house of 
Baring and its peerages date back to Matthew Baring, son 
of a Lutheran pastor at Bremen, who came to Exeter 
about 1717, and, after learning the serge manufacture with 
Edmund Cock, married the daughter of a rich grocer 
named Vowler, and founded a flourishing factory. His 
son John was member for Exeter (1776-1803). Another 
son, Francis, became a baronet in 1793. His daughter 
Elizabeth married John Dunning, Lord Ashburton ; and 
the title was revived in 1835 — after the death in 1823, 
without issue, of Richard Barrd, the second lord — in 
Alexander, Sir Francis's second son, while his grandson 
Francis was created Baron Northbrook in 1866. The 
founder of the family of Duntze, since represented in the 
baronetage, was also a native of Bremen, who settled in 
Exeter, and engaged in the woollen trade. Sir John Ken- 
naway, again, is descended from a family largely engaged 
in the same manufacture. John Cranch, the zoologist, 
who perished in the Congo expedition, was the son of a 
working fuller of the* city. 

Alike in their historical and personal associations, 
the suburban and surrounding parishes of Exeter have 
exceptional interest and importance. Heavitree, which 
forms part of the parliamentary area of Exeter, but not 
of the * city,' under the title of Wonford was the head of 
the hundred in which Exeter is situated, and which still 
retains its ancient name. As Wenford it appears in 
'Domesday,' part of the Royal demesnes which had been 
held by Eadgytha ; and Heavitree, or Hevetrove (* hive- 
tree'), was then an insignificant manor, belonging to Ralph 
de Pomeroy. How the lesser name supplanted the greater 
is not very apparent. There is an absurd legend that 
names Heavitree from * heavy-tree,' i,e, the gallows, 
because it was the common place of execution. The 

44 History of Devonshire. 

Cluniac Priory of St. James, here founded in 1146 as a 
cell to St. Martin in the Fields, near Paris, passed to 
King's College, Cambridge. Polsloe Priory for Bene- 
dictine nuns, founded by William Lord Briwere, temp. 
Richard I., continued until 1538, when its revenues were 
worth £164 8s. iid. 

The parish of St. Thomas, lying west of the Exe, does 
not form part either of the ancient city of Exeter or its 
county, though included within its modem parliamentary 
limits. It has been a place of some little note, though 
overshadowed by its great neighbour. At Cowick was a 
cell of Benedictine monks, from the Abbey of Bee 
Harlewin, to which the estate had been given by 
William Fitz-Baldwin. Here Hugh Lord Courtenay was 
buried in 1340. Seized with the rest of the possessions 
of the alien priories by Henry V., it was eventually 
restored, and was granted, about 1462, to the Abbey of 
Tavistock. Another religious foundation here was the 
cell of St. Mary de Marisco, an appendage of Plympton 
Priory. This was at Marsh Barton. Floyer Hayes, for 
many centuries the seat of the Floyers, was held under 
the Earl of Devon, by the service of waiting upon the 
lord paramount whenever he should come into Exe Island, 
the tenant being seemingly apparelled with a napkin 
about his neck or on his shoulders, and having a pitcher 
of wine and a silver cup in his hand, whereof to offer his 
lord to drink. 

Stoke Canon is claimed as having been given to his 
minster in Exeter by iEtJelstan, and subsequently by Cnut 
to his thegn Hunuwine, from whom presumably it passed 
to the minster. Cnut's grant at least is certain, and he 
was traditionally regarded as the donor. In 'Domesday' 
it appears simply as Stoche. Brampford Speke is also 
entitled to regard, from its connection with the ancient 
family of Speke, now settled in Somerset, but once 

Exeter. 45 

holding a distinguished position in Devon. Of this 
family was descended Captain Speke, the associate of 
Captain Grant in the discovery of the source of the Nile, 
in 1863, and himself a Devonshire man, born at Orleigh 
Court, near Bideford. One of his ancestors is said to 
have been hung by Jeffries, after that brutal judge had 
breakfasted with him at his house at White Lackington. 
There is a tradition that certain paths in Devon were 
appropriated to the sole use of the Spekes, and hence 
called * Speke-paths.' Thorverton manor was given to 
the Abbey of Marmoustier in Tours, by Henry II., but 
was bought of the monks by Sir John Wiger, and given 
by him in 1276 to the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, 
in support of three chantry priests celebrating specially 
for the souls of Henry de Bracton (from whose estate a 
part of the purchase-money had come) and of Sir John 
Wiger and his benefactors. 

Pynes, in Upton Pyne, the present seat of the North- 
cote family (who were at Northcote in East Downe as 
early as the year 1103), came to them by the marriage of 
Sir Henry Northcote, the fifth baronet, with the heiress 
of Stafford. Hence the additional name of Stafford, so 
familiar in the title of the Earl of Iddesleigh when he was 
Sir Stafford Northcote. Prior to acquiring Pynes, the 
Northcotes were at Hayne, in the parish of Newton St. 
Cyres. Here lived Sir John Northcote, the first baronet 
of the family, a member of the Long Parliament, who left 
behind him a volume of notes on the proceedings of that 
body, and served as colonel for the Parliament in the 
earlier part of the Civil War. The Northcotes were allied 
with some of the most distinguished houses of the West, 
and with the Plantagenets. By marrying heiresses they 
extended their own importance and possessions; and 
among the families they thus represent are Helion, Meoles, 
Mamhede, Drew, Haswell, and Stafford. 

46 History x>f Devonshire. 

The Bampfyldes have been settled at Poltimore since 
the reign of Edward L, and entered the ranks of the 
bi^ronetage in 1641. Sir John B ampfyld e^bf^ c^Tn^ for a 
time Governor on b ehalf oTtTie Parliament of the town of 
Plymouth, and his son, Sir Copleston Bampfylde^^took a 
leading part in the restoration of Charles II. The family 
were raised to the peerage as Barons Poltimore in 1831. 
Among the houses with which the Bampfyldes are allied, 
or whom they represent, are Pederton, St. Maure, 
Copleston, Codrington, and Gorges. 

Settled at Akland, in the parish of Landkey, for sixteen 
descents before the Visitation of 1620, the ancient family 
of Acland for nearly three centuries have made their home 
in the vicinity of Exeter. Sir John Acland was the 
builder of the house at Columbjohn, which gave title to 
the baronetcy at its creation in 1644, and which was 
garrisoned by its owner for the King. At one time it 
contained the only Royalist garrison in the county ; but 
in March, 1646, it was the headquarters of Sir Thomas 
Fairfax. This mansion has been destroyed, and the 
present seat of the Aclands is at Killerton, in the same 
parish of Broad Clyst. Originally built in the year 1788, 
Killerton was greatly enlarged and improved by its late 
owner. Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, to whom the dis- 
tinguished honour was paid of the erection of a statue on 
Northernhay, Exeter, in his lifetime, *as a tribute for 
private worth and public integrity, and in testimony of 
admiration of a generous heart and open hand, which 
have been ever ready to protect the weak, to relieve the 
needy, and to succour the oppressed of whatever party, 
race, or creed.' The Aclands take their second name of 
Dyke as representatives of the old Somersetshire family 
of that name. 



EXMOUTH is one of the comparatively few places in Devon 
that finds mention before the Conquest, though the earlier 
references to Exanmutha in all likelihood really refer to 
the river, or estuary, and not to any town. Thus it was 
clearly at the ' mouth of the Exe ' that the Danes landed 
in looi, when they defeated the men of Somerset and 
Devon at Pinhoe. Evidence exists, however, that Ex- 
mouth was a local habitation, as well as a name, some 
forty years later. There is extant a grant of half a mansa 
of land by Eadweard the Confessor to a thane named 
Ordgar in 1042 ; and this half-mansa Mi. J. B. David- 
son has shown is practically identical with the present 
parish of Littleham, in which the older part of modern 
Exmouth stands. Among the boundaries mentioned in 
the charter is Lydewic nassse, and this Lydewic seems 
equivalent to ' Shipwick,' the shipping or sailors' village. 
Another boundary-mark pointing to ancient settlement, 
is the 'plegin stowe' or ' playing-place.' Ordgar gave 
Littleham to the Abbey of Horton, which was annexed 
in 1122 to Sherborne, and to Sherborne the manor con- 
tinued to belong until the Dissolution. One of the rights 
of the Abbey was the ferry over the Exe, from Prattshide 
— which apparently supplanted Lydewic as the name for 
ancient Exmouth — to Starcross, so named because the 

48 History of Devonshire. 

landing was at a flight of stone stairs, adjoining a cross 
set up by the abbot. This ferry, it has been thought 
highly probable, was rented by the Drakes of Pratts- 
hide, who were certainly the ancestors of the Drakes of 
Ash, and possibly of those of Tavistock, thence of Buck- 
land and Nutwell. 

The name Exmouth long continued to be applied to 
the port rather than the infant town. The word is so 
used under King John ; and in 1347 it must have been 
Exeter under the title of Exmue, and not any Exmouth 
ville, that furnished ten ships and 193 men for the expe- 
dition against Calais. Exmouth was, indeed, only a 

* Fisschar Tounlet ' when Leland saw it about 1540 ; 
and therefore it must again be the port that is intended 
when it is recorded that the Earl of March, afterwards 
Duke of York and Edward IV., sailed thence in 1459 for 
Calais, after the first battle of St. Albans. But Exmouth 
itself was of sufficient note, a few years later, to give 
Devon one of its stoutest Elizabethan seamen, Richard 
Whitbourne, who was present when Sir Humphry 
Gilbert took possession of Newfoundland in 1583 ; who 
served, in 1588, in a ship of his own as a volunteer against 
the Armada ; and who was the chief agent in the coloni- 
zation of 'Avalon in the New-found-land,' under James I. 
In the narrative of his voyages he describes amusingly 
what he had taken for a ' Maremaid,' but wisely adds, 

* Whether it were a Maremaid or no, I know not ; I leaue 
for others to judge.' 

Exmouth was made a Royal garrison in the wars of 
the Commonwealth. A fort was erected on the sand-bar 
at the entrance of the river, and held out for forty-six 
days under Colonel Arundell before he surrendered, 
March 16, 1646, to Sir Hardress Waller. And here 
comes in a curious point of topography. 

The ancient harbour not only had a bar, but a rock in 
the channel, called the * Chickstone/ so much in the way, 

Exmoutk and the Exe Estuary. 49 

according to Westcote, that it grew to be proverbial that, 
* if we desire to be rid of anything we forthwith wish it to 
be on Chickstone.' The bar, or Warren, in the seven- 
teenth century was connected, not with th^ Dawlish side 
of the river as now, but with the Exmouth shore, and here 
stood the fort. The entrance into the river from the sea 
was by the western bank and not the eastern ; and it 
was possible to cross from Exmouth to the Warren by 
stepping-stones as late as 1730. There is a story told, 
too, of a captain who, by trusting to an old chart, ran 
his vessel high and dry one night on the track of the 
ancient channel. 

Littleham, after the Dissolution, came to Sir Thomas 
Dinnis; and, by descent, eventually to the RoUes, its 
present lords. 

The northern portion of Exmouth lies in the parish of 
Withycombe Ralegh. This passed to the Raleghs from 
the Clavells, and hence became one of several parishes 
that took and have retained the name of Ralegh as a 
distinctive title. It seems an almost hopeless task to 
attempt to connect the different branches of this wide- 
spread and distinguished race with the original stock of 
the Raleghs of Ralegh in Pilton, or to reconcile the dis- 
cordant pedigrees. Yet there is no doubt the connection 
exists. Wymond Ralegh, grandfather of the famous Sir 
Walter Ralegh, whose seat was at Fardell, near Ply- 
mouth, held estate in Withycombe Ralegh ; and this may 
have been one of the causes that induced his son Walter 
to remove to this neighbourhood, and thus give to Hayes 
Barton in East Budleigh the honour of being the birth- 
place of the most accomplished Devonian of Devon's 
greatest age. According to Westcote, Withycombe Ralegh 
was held by the service of finding the King two good 
arrows stuck in an oaten cake whenever he should hunt 
on Dartmoor. 

The Drakes were large owners of property in Withy- 


50 History of Devonshire. 

combe Ralegh, and the first wife of Walter Ralegh, the 
father, was a Joan Drake. For his third he married 
Katherine Champernowne, widow of Otho Gilbert, and 
mother of Sir Humphry and Sir Adrian Gilbert. To no 
other Devonshire woman has it been given to have three 
such :'a nous sons to represent her in the list of worthies. 
Hayes Barton, where Sir Walter was born in 1552, still 
stands, and there are several interesting memorials of the 
family in the church. To attempt to trace the life of 
Ralegh, even in bare outline, is impossible here. More 
than any other man of his time, he was the epitome of 
the restless, many-sided spirit of the age — courtier, states- 
man, philosopher, sailor, soldier — accomplished in all 
manner of honourable professions, and a leader in each 
one. His apprenticeship to arms being passed with the 
Huguenots ill France, his first sea voyage was taken 
with Humphry Gilbert's disastrous colonizing expedition 
in 1578. Next he served in stern fashion against the 
Irish insurgents, and thus acquired the lands upon which 
he afterwards introduced the cultivation of the potato. 
Upon his return from Ireland he began his career as a 
courtier; and he rose so rapidly that in 1587 he succeeded 
Hatton as Captain of the Guard. Four years before this, 
however, he had contributed the Ralegh to the expedition 
in which Sir Humphry Gilbert took possession of New- 
foundland, although her crew deserted their companions. 
In 1584 he sent out the vessels, under Amadas and 
Barlowe, which proved the abounding fertility of Virginia ; 
and in the following year planted a colony at Roanoake, 
under Ralph Lane. Though his designs were doomed to 
final failure, and no plantation made by him survived, 
Ralegh persevered in the effort, at the cost of much 
treasure and pains, for years ; and in the event it was 
under his patent, though in other hands, that the first 
English colony of Jamestown was founded. As Lord 
Warden of the Stannaries, Ralegh was chiefly concerned 

Exmouth and the Exe Estuary. 51 

in the land preparations for the reception of the Armada 
in Devon and Cornwall ; but he joined the fleet and had 
his share in the great victory when his work on shore was 
done. With the rise of Essex at Court the influence of 
Ralegh waned ; while his secret marriage with Bessie 
Throgmorton threw him into deep disgrace, and Elizabeth 
in her anger sent him to the Tower. Released from 
durance, he retired to his manor of Sherborne, and there 
planned his expeditions to Guiana, the second of which, 
in 1595, he himself conducted. Next we have him, by 
his wise advice, securing the success of the expedition to 
Cadiz in 1596, and winning all the honours of the * Island 
Voyage ' in 1598. When Elizabeth died, Ralegh had re- 
gained his old position at Court; but the accession of 
James was the prelude to his downfall. Falsely accused 
of conspiracy, he was imprisoned in the Tower from 1603 
to 1616. Then came his last voyage to Guiana, in search 
of the golden city of Manoa, in which his ' braines were 
broken ' by the loss of his son ; and in October, 1618, at 
the dictation of Spain, the cowardly pedant James struck ofiF 
the head of the noblest Englishman of the day, who died 
with * the grace of a courtier, the dignity of a philosopher, 
the courage of a soldier, and the faith of a Christian.' 

East Budleigh was originally a market town, and, 
according to Pole, had a Sunday market. It seems to 
have been a little port, vessels frequenting the estuary of 
the Otter, up to the fifteenth century ; but Leland says 
that in his time the haven was * clene barred,' and that 
the shipping had left for a hundred years. Budleigh 
Salterton, upon the coast here, has developed of late 
years considerably as a bathing-place. Here is the best 
exposure of the Budleigh Salterton pebbles, a large pro- 
portion of which contain Silurian fossils, and which seem 
to have been derived from pre-Triassic extensions of 
Silurian and Devonian rocks into the area now occupied 


52 History of Devonshire. 

by the Channel. In the distinctive name of the contiguous 
parish of Newton Poppleford, popple = pebble, and is 
still a current form of speech. 

Topsham ranks next to Exmouth of the towns of the 
Exe estuary. Though in modern days little more than a 
riverside suburb of Exeter, it was anciently a port of con- 
siderable importance. It was a market-town so far back 
as the reign of Edward I. ; and it was for a long period 
the chief seat of Exeter commerce, large vessels coming 
no further than its quay. Topsham seamen had a 
good deal to do also with the development of the 
fishing-trade with Newfoundland; and as one result of 
this it is recorded that in the reign of William III. it had 
more trade with Newfoundland than any other port in 
the kingdom, London alone excepted. Unjustly taken 
from the see of Exeter, as Leofric notes, by Harold, the 
manor was for several generations in the Courtenays, who 
used their connection with it to the disadvantage of 
Exeter, when differences arose between the citizens and 
their powerful neighbours. On their attainder it passed 
to the Crown, afterwards vesting in the De Courcys. It 
is now the property of the Hamiltons. Topsham had its 
share in the troubles of the seventeenth century. When 
Exeter was held by the Royalists, they built a fort here, 
which was battered down by the Earl of Warwick, the 
Parliamentary Admiral, who killed therein some seventy or 
eighty men. For a short time in October, 1645, Topsham 
was the headquarters of Sir Thomas Fairfax. 

Weare, once the seat of a younger branch of the 
Hollands, Dukes of Exeter, has been the residence 
of the Duckworths since 1804, in which year it was pur- 
chased by Admiral Sir Thomas Duckworth, the hero of 
the passage of the Dardanelles in 1807, when for the 
first time Constantinople saw the fleet of an enemy. 

Topsham in all probability affords an instance of the 

Exmouth and the Exe Estuary. 53 

preservation of a personal name from Saxon days, and is 
equivalent to ' Topa's ham.' In the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries it was frequently called Apsom. It is 
Topeshant in ' Domesday.' 

The little stream of the Clyst, which falls into the Exe 
at Topsham, has given name not only to the hundred of 
Clyston, but to more manors and parishes than any other 
river in the county save the Teign — a fact which indicates 
the comparative populousness of this rich valley in Anglo- 
Saxon times. There are Clysthydon, named from its 
ancient lords the Hydons, now long in the Huyshes ; St. 
Lawrence Clyst, of old time in the Valletorts, one of the 
estates which Elize Hele bequeathed to charitable 
purposes ; Broad Clyst, already noted ; Honiton Clyst ; 
St. Mary Clyst, in the church of which Walter Ralegh, 
father of Sir Walter, took refuge from a band of the 
Western Rebels for the restoration of Roman Catholicism, 
and was rescued by a party of Exmouth seamen ; and 
Clyst St. George, a small estate in which, held by the 
annual tender of an ivory bow, was reputed to have been 
in the family of Sokespitch from Saxon times, but was 
really granted to them by Henry de Pomeroy, temp. 
Henry II. Of other Clysts which have not survived as 
parishes, Clyst Fomison is now the parish of Sowton ; 
while Bishops Clyst, in Farringdon and Sowton, once in 
the Sackvilles, was an ancient episcopal manor and 
residence, and a little market town. 

Nutwell, in the adjoining parish of Woodbury (which 
takes name from ancient earthworks upon the high range 
of moorland called Woodbury Common, and gave title in 
the eleventh century to a fraternity known as the Wood- 
bury Guild), is the chief seat of the Drakes of Tavistock, 
the descendants of Thomas Drake, brother of the 
renowned Sir Francis. It was long held by the Dinhams, 
then passing successively to the Prideauxes, Fords, and 
PoUexfens. These Drakes were on the Parliamentary 

54 History of Devonshire. 

side during the wars of the Commonwealth, and Nutwell 
was garrisoned in that behalf. The first house of im- 
portance here seems to have been built by Lord Dinham, 
in the reign of Henry VII. The present Drakes of Nut- 
well represent the old family through double female 
descent. The first baronet of the line was Francis, 
nephew of the circumnavigator, created in 1622 ; and this 
title became extinct in 1794, when the last baronet 
bequeathed his estates to his nephew, Lord Heathfield. 
On his dying without issue, they passed in like manner to 
his nephew, Thomas Trayton Fuller. The name of Drake 
was resumed and a new baronetcy created in 1821. 

Opposite Topsham, on the western shore of the 
estuary, lies Exminster, indicated by its name as a place 
of ecclesiastical importance in Saxon times, but to which 
little that is noteworthy appears to attach. At the 
present day it has rather an unpleasant reputation as the 
location of the County Lunatic Asylum. The manor was 
bequeathed by iElfred to his younger son, and at the 
Domesday Survey was held by William Chievre, in suc- 
cession to Wichin, but was not of any note. Several 
distinguished families have been connected with Ex- 
minster. The Courtenays, who are still lords of the 
manor, are said to have had a magnificent mansion here. 
Peamore, now the seat of the Kekewich family, was 
formerly in the Cobhams and Bonviles, Tothills and 
Northleighs. Shillingford, given to Torre Abbey by its 
founder, William Lord Briwere, was purchased by the 
Southcotes after the Dissolution, and, with other property 
in the parish, has long been held by the Palks. The 
vicarage is appendant to Crediton. 

Next to Exminster comes Kenn, with its chief village 
of Kennford, described in old records as a borough, and 
having a market granted to its ancient owners, the 
Courtenays, about 1299. The manor is now the property 

Exmouth and the Exe Estuary. 55 

of Lord Haldon, whose principal residence, Haldon 
House, is in this parish. Haldon House was originally 
built by Sir Qeorge Chudleigh, the last baronet of that 
family, but the mansion and grounds owe their present 
aspect to the improvements effected since they were 
purchased by Sir Robert Palk. The Palks are an old 
Devonshire race, who were seated at Ambrook, in Ipple- 
pen, as early as the fifteenth century. Sir Robert Palk, 
the first baronet, the son of Henry Palk, sometime 
member for Ashburton, became Governor of Madras, and 
in India acquired both title and fortune. In India, too, 
he formed a very close friendship with Major-General 
Lawrence, to whom he erected a monument at Haldon, 
and whose name has been continued in the family ever 
since. Sir Lawrence Palk, M.P. for South Devon (as his 
grandfather had been for the undivided county), was 
raised to the peerage in 1880. 

Powderham Castle holds the first place among the 
ancient mansions of the county. No other great house 
continues so fully its olden glories. Nearly six centuries 
have passed since the Courtenays first seated themselves 
by the Exe, at Powderham, and there, amidst many 
vicissitudes, they have continued. At the compilation of 
* Domesday,' Powderham was one of the two Devonshire 
manors of William de Ow, and on his forfeiture came 
to a family who thence took name. The attainder of John 
de Powderham led to the manor becoming the property of 
Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford ; and his daughter 
Margaret, in 1325, brought it to her husband Hugh, the 
second Courtenay Earl of Devon. Earl Hugh gave it to 
his younger son Philip, by whom the castle was built, 
and in his descendants it has remained. When the 
earldom of Devon, newly revived by Queen Mary, was 
thought to have failed, through the death, without issue, 
of Lord Edward Courtenay, in 1556, the Courtenays of 

56 History of Devonshire. 

Powderham continued simple knights, and subsequently 
baronets, until Sir William, the third holder of the 
baronetcy, was created Viscount Courtenay of Powder- 
ham in 1762. William, the third viscount, in 1831, how- 
ever, established his claim to the earldom created by 
Queen Mary in 1553 (the title having been merely dormant, 
and not extinct, for 265 years) ; becoming, in fact, the 
tenth earl, though only the second who had borne the 
title under Mary's patent. The present Earl of Devon is 
the eighteenth Courtenay lord of Powderham. 

Powderham Castle saw service during the struggle 
between Charles and the Parliament, when it was strongly 
garrisoned for the King. An attack made by Fairfax in 
December, 1645, proved a failure, and the Roundheads in 
their turn garrisoned the church. The castle was, how- 
ever, taken early in the following year by Colonel 

The House of Courtenay is the most distinguished 
family of Devon. They have been called * the ubiquitous 
Courtenays,' for there is hardly a parish in the county 
which is not linked with their history by some traces of 
lordship or alliance. The history of the English branch 
of this great house, whose famous coat of three torteaux 
*at once waved over the towers of Edessa, and was 
reflected by the waters of the Seine,' has been set forth 
most graphically by Gibbon. Ranked among the chief 
barons of the realm, it was not 'till after a strenuous 
dispute that they yielded to the fief of Arundel the first 
place in Parliament. Their alliances were contracted with 
the noblest families — the Veres, De Spencers, Bon\iles, 
St. Johns, Talbots, Bohuns, and even the Plantagenets 
themselves ; and in a contest with John of Lancaster, a 
Courtenay, Bishop of London and afterwards Archbishop 
of Canterbury, might be accused of profane confidence in 
the strength and numbers of his kindred. In peace the 
Earls of Devon resided in their numerous castles and 

Exmouth and the Exe Estuary. 57 

manors of the West, and their ample revenue was appro- 
priated to devotion and hospitahty. In war they fulfilled 
the duties and deserved the honours of chivalry. They 
were often entrusted to levy and command the militia of 
Devon and Cornwall. They often attended their supreme 
lord to the borders of Scotland and Wales, and in foreign 
service they sometimes maintained four-score men-at-arms 
and as many archers. By sea and land they fought under 
the standard of the Edwards and Henrys. Their names 
are conspicuous in battles, tournaments, and in the 
original lists of the Order of the Garter. Three brothers 
shared the Spanish victory of the Black Prince, and in 
the lapse of six generations the English Courtenays learned 
to despise the nation and country from which they derived 
their origin. In the quarrels of the Roses the Earls of 
Devon adhered to the House of Lancaster, and three 
brothers successively died either in the field or on the 
scaffold. A daughter of Edward IV. was not disgraced 
by the nuptials of a Courtenay. Their son, created 
Marquis of Exeter, enjoyed the capricious favour of his 
cousin Henry VIII.; and in the camp of the Cloth of 
Gold broke a lance against the monarch of France. 
Among the victims of the jealous and tyrannical Henry, 
the Marquis of Exeter was one of the most noble and 
guiltless. His son Edward lived a prisoner and died in 
exile ; and the secret love of Queen Mary, whom he 
slighted for the Princess Elizabeth, has shed a romantic 
colour on the story of this beautiful youth. The relics of 
his patrimony were conveyed into strange families by the 
marriage of his four great-aunts, and his personal honours, 
as if they had been legally extinct, were revived by the 
patents of succeeding princes. But there still survived a 
lineal descendant of Hugh, the first Earl of Devon, a 
younger branch of the Courtenays, who have been seated 
at Powderham Castle above 500 years, from the reign of 
Edward III. to the present hour. Their estates have 

58 History of Devonshire. 

been increased by the grant and improvement of lands in 
Ireland, and they have been restored to the honours of 
the peerage. Yet the Courtenays long retained the plain- 
tive motto which asserts their innocence and deplores the 
fall of their ancient house — * Uhi lapsus^ quid feci ?* 

The little town, or rather village, of Starcross, which 
lies on the western side of the Exe Bight, is the most 
important centre in the parish of Kenton ; and since the 
construction of the South Devon Railway, efforts have 
unavailingly been made to give it a commercial character. 
It is best known now for its large philanthropic establish- 
ment, the Western Counties Idiot Asylum. In Saxon 
and early Norman days it was a royal demesne, and 
subsequently held by the Courtenays until their attainder. 
Kenton then reverted to the Crown ; and after its grant 
by Elizabeth to Lord Clifton, passed in rapid succession 
through Exeter, Hungerford, Monk (Duke of Albemarle), 
and Grenville, until, early in the last century, it was once 
more acquired by the House of Courtenay. Kenton lies 
beneath the long Greensand ridge of Haldon ; and the 
local proverb runs : 

•When Haldon wears a hat, 
Kenton beware a scat ;* 

a cap of clouds on Haldon being an almost certain sign 
of rainy weather. 



East Devon has all tbe marks of a populous and troobled 
border-land of vast antiquity. Nowhere in all Devon are 
there so many remains of the so-called 'camps' or forti- 
fied towns of the early Kelts within so narrow an area. 
Taking Broaddown near Honiton as a centre, and exclud- 
ing earthworks of minor importance, we have, for example, 
Blackbury Castle, Bilbury Castle, Dumdun Castle, Far- 
way Castle, Hocksdown Castle, Hembury Fort, Musbury 
Castle, Membury Castle, Stockland Great and Little 
Castles, Sidbury Castle, Widworthy Castle, Woodbury 
Castle — all entrenchments, without masonry, notwith- 
standing their 'castle' name. Within a radius of six 
miles from Sidmouth, there are yet existing ninety-three 
tumuli, many of notable size and considerable antiquarian 
interest. The boundary-line between Devon and Dorset, 
moreover, instead of following the natural features of the 
country, is of so intricate and peculiar a character as to 
render it evident that it was the result of hard and con- 
tinual fighting, in which the possession on either side of 
strong positions played an important part. And so, in 
later times, though still in what are really prehistoric 
days, as fer as the absence of written record goes, we 
have the important fact indicated by the character and 
relations of the hundreds of East Devon that it was the 

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Axminster and the Axe. 6i 

there bloodier seen from the days when the Saxons and 
the Angles, famous smiters in war, came over the broad 
seas to put the Britons to rout/ 

Two Alseminstres are mentioned in * Domesday/ One 
held by the King had four serfs, thirty villeins, and twenty 
bordars, with a couple of mills, and was worth twenty- 
six pounds a year. The other held by Eddulf, under 
William Chievre, had four serfs and twelve bordars, and 
was worth twenty pounds annually. Probably both 
manors were included in the present parish, the first 
representing the modern town, which would seem to have 
continued with the Crown, possibly until John granted it 
to his trusty noble, William Lord Briwere, from whose 
family it passed to the Mohuns. John confirmed the 
market to Briwere in 1204, to be held on Sundays as 
accustomed ; and a few years later made the town a free 
borough. Briwere built a castle, of which every vestige 
has disappeared, though walls have been found in exca- 
vating which apparently belonged to such a structure. 

For some centuries the history of Axminster is that of 
the famous and dominant Abbey of Newenham, planted 
in the pleasant meadows by the winding Axe by Reginald 
and William de Mohun in 1246 ; Reginald, however, being 
the accepted founder. The first Cistercian colony con- 
sisted of twelve monks and four lay brethren, under John 
Goddard as abbot, from the monastery of Beaulieu. The 
permanent buildings were begun in 1250, and were of 
great magnificence and beauty, for the Abbey had many 
friends, and Bishop Bronescombe and Bishop Grandisson 
were among its most liberal benefactors. Reginald de 
Mohun chose Newenham as his burial-place, and there 
his body was deposited in January, 1257-8, the first of a 
long line of illustrious personages, Bonviles and Mohuns 
and others, whose bones are now washed out by the en- 
croachments of the river from the long-desecrated site. 
The church took thirty years in building, and was 280 

62 History of Devonshire. 

feet long; breadth across the transepts, 152. At the 
surrender the estates were valued at £227 7s. 8d. A 
fragmentary wall is all that remains to mark the site. At 
the Dissolution the manor of Axminster passed to the 
Marquis of Dorset, then to the Duke of Norfolk, and was 
sold in the reign of James I. to Lord Petre, in whose 
family it remained until 1824. 

Axminster was a good deal worried during the Civil 
Wars of the seventeenth century, through being utilized 
by the Royalist troops in their approaches to Lyme ; and 
though the sympathies of the town leant rather to the 
Cavaliers, it must have had a peculiarly unpleasant time. 
Prince Maurice made it his headquarters for a while in 
April, May, and June, 1644, but retired on the approach 
of Essex. Subsequently, on the petition of the wealthier 
residents, a royal garrison was placed at Axminster under 
the command of Sir Richard Cholmondeley. This only 
made matters worse, for the Roundheads of Lyme, under 
the command of Colonel Ceeley (October 25th), assaulted 
the town, routed the Royalists, and killed their captain. 
And w^hen, in the ensuing month (November 15th), Major 
Walker, who had succeeded Sir Richard, attacked Lsrme, 
not only was he killed, with many of his followers, but the 
remnant of the Cavaliers were chased into Axminster 
Church, whence they could not be dislodged. 

Axminster became Fairfax's headquarters in October, 
1645 ; and it was at the village of Membury that he re- 
ceived *the only affiront' put upon him in the West of 
England : a party of Royalist cavalry, led by Goring and 
Wentworth, making a night attack, getting within the 
guards, and capturing some sixty prisoners. Sir Shilston 
Calmady had been killed in a skirmish at Membury in 
the previous February. 

The town was the rendezvous of the Duke kA Mon* 
mouth on his first day's march from Lyme, where he had 
landed June 11, 1685 ; and here it was thought his first 

Axminster and the Axe. 63 

battle would have been fought. The Devonshire and 
Somerset militia, and the forces of Monmouth, were all 
marching upon Axminster from different points within 
view of the insurgents ; but the latter, doubling their 
speed, gained the town first ; and Monk, who was in 
command of the train-bands, deemed it expedient to 
retire. Had Monmouth then taken Exeter, which he 
could easily have done, the fortune of the campaign 
might have been wholly different. That he had many 
staunch followers in Axminster is recorded in the pages 
of the * Axminster Ecclesiastica,' a singular contemporary 
record of the Independent Church there, which notes 
also many of the local horrors of the Bloody Assize. 

It was at Axminster that Lord Cornbury deserted 
from James II. to William of Orange. He had brought 
three regiments of cavalry from Salisbury westward, 
under pretence of making a night-attack upon some 
Dutch troops at Honiton. Suspicion being excited, and 
his orders not being forthcoming when demanded, he 
then made the best of his way to William with a few 
followers only, instead of the important contingent he 
had hoped to secure. 

Apart from the miserable vestige of Newenham, 
Axminster has only one antiquity, its church, originally 
a fine fabric, still retaining a Norman doorway, and with 
a couple of early efiigies : Alice de Mohun, daughter and 
heiress of Lord Briwere, and Gervase de Prestaller, her 
father's chaplain. 

Axminster gave name to a kind of carpet, which was 
first manufactured there, in 1755, by Mr. Thomas Whitty, 
a clothier, who developed the idea from an attempt to 
imitate the Turkey fabrics. Eventually he produced the 
finest carpets ever made in England ; and the manufacture 
was carried on by the Whitty family until 1835, when 
the looms were removed to Wilton. Among those who 
attempted to retain the business in the town was Dr. 

64 History of Devonshire. 

■ - - — — - — — — - — —~ 

Buckland, Dean of Westminster, the celebrated geologist, 
and author of * Reliquae Diluvianae/ who was born at 
Axminster (1784-1856), and acquired his taste for science 
in the Lias quarries of the locality. 

As Newenham Abbey is the one Cistercian house of 
Devon which has the least to show for its former great- 
ness, so its neighbour-house of Ford is that which retains 
the most. Ford lies seven miles from Axminster, and is 
now in Dorset; but as the site, up to the year 1842, 
formed a detached portion of Devon, it falls into place in 
the history of this county. A Cistercian house had been 
founded at Brightley, near Okehampton, under the patron- 
age of the De Redvers family, in 1135. The patron 
died in 1137, before the establishment was permanently 
founded ; and finding it impossible to make good their 
position for themselves, the monks resolved to return to 
the mother-house of Waverley. They were on the road, 
and had reached Thorncombe, when they were met by 
Adelicia, sister of their former benefactor, Richard the 
Viscount. She gave them the manor of Thorncombe, 
on which they stood ; and thus, instead of returning to 
Waverley, they founded the Abbey of Ford. This was in 
1141. In September, 1142, Adelicia died also; and her 
remains, with those of Richard de Redvers, which were re- 
moved from Brightley, were buried within the church. At 
the same time, the monks translated the remains of their 
first abbot, another Richard, who had died at Brightley. 

The Abbey flourished under the care of a series of 
abbots, who contributed some prominent names to the 
general history of the kingdom. The third abbot, 
Baldwin of Exeter, originally a monk at Ford, became 
Archbishop of Canterbury, after filling the See of 
Worcester. John, the confessor of King John, a great 
theologian, made Ford famous for its learning. The 
church was completed in 1239. The last abbot was 

Axminster and the Axe. 

Thomas Charde, suffragan to Bishop Oldham, an emi- 
nent scholar and divine, and, as the buildings of his 
time show, an able architect. At the surrender, in 1539, 
the revenue amounted to 3^374 los. GJd. 

The Abbey passed in the first place by lease to Richard 
Pollard, but was afterwards bought by him. Sir John 
Pollard, his son, sold it to his cousin. Sir Amias Poulett ; 
and he to William Rosewall, Elizabeth's attorney-general. 
Sir Henry Rosewall sold it to Edmund Prideaux, under 
whom Inigo Jones converted the domestic buildings into a 
stately mansion. The Abbey continued in the Prideaux, 
Gwyn, and Fraunceis families until 1847, when it was 
once more sold ; and after being for a short time the 
property of Mr. G. F. Miles, became that of Mr. Evans. 
It was for some time the residence of Jeremy Bentham. 

Although not a vestige remains of the monastic church, 
the so-called chapel being really the chapter-house, * no 
Cistercian building in England, perhaps none in the 
world, is in so perfect a state as that of Ford.' Thus 
Mr. J. Brooking Rowe, who points out also that, * in spite 
of the interference with his architecture, and the incon- 
gruities of Inigo Jones's additions, Charde's [Perpendi- 
cular] work remains pre-eminently beautiful, and renders 
Ford Abbey perhaps the most interesting building archi- 
tecturally, as it is archaeologically, in the West Country.' 

Returning to Axminster, and commencing our survey 
of the lower portions of the Axe Valley, we find the first 
point of interest in the remnant farmhouse of Ashe, a 
couple of miles from Axminster towards Seaton, and just 
over the borders of Musbury parish. Ashe is connected 
with more than one distinguished personage, but is 
specially identified with one of the greatest of English 
generals. Given by the Courtenays to a family which 
thence took name, it passed by marriage to the Drakes, 
then of Exmouth. The most distinguished member of 


66 History of Devonshire. 

the Drakes of Ashe was that Sir Bernard Drake whom 
Prince, in his * Worthies/ records to have boxed Sir 
Francis Drake's ears for assuming the wyvern in his coat. 
Be the story true or false (and Prince is not always trust- 
worthy, while in this case his own connection with the 
Drakes of Ashe may count for something) Sir Bernard 
was a brave sailor, and did good service against the 
Spaniards and Portuguese. He died in 1586, stricken at 
the Exeter Assizes by gaol-fever, which killed the judge — 
Serjeant Flowerby — five magistrates, and eleven jurymen. 

Elizabeth, daughter of John Drake, grandson of Sir 
Bernard, married Sir William Churchill, of Minthorne, 
Dorset, who, as a staunch Royalist, was greatly harassed 
during the Commonwealth. This led to his living for 
some time with his wife at her father's house. Hence it 
was that at Ashe there was born in June, 1650, John 
Churchill, afterwards Duke of Marlborough ; and hence 
the name of that famous warrior is registered among the 
Axminster baptisms. 

The life of the Duke of Marlborough belongs to national 
history rather than local, like that of so many more of 
Devon's famous worthies. It was among his own native 
hills, indeed, that he bore a part in subduing the insurrec- 
tion of Monmouth ; but he seems in later life to have had 
little if anything to do with the county, of which the victor 
of Blenheim, with all his failings, must be ranked as one of 
the most distinguished ornaments. He died in 1722, after 
having won the highest honours the nation could bestow. 

John Drake, uncle of Churchill, was created a baronet 
in 1660, and his son re-edified Ashe, which had been 
greatly damaged during the Civil Wars, utilizing 
Newenham Abbey, of which one of his ancestors had 
been steward, as a quarry ! The baronetcy came to an 
end with its sixth holder in 1733, and the estate passed 
to his widow. Her daughter by a second husband. 
Colonel Speke, married Lord North, at Ashe chapel; and 

Ax minster and the Axe. 67 

during a visit in 1765, that statesman was so scared by 
the cries of a body of reapers, who were * crying the neck ' 
at the close of harvest, with upraised hooks and the 
traditional shout, * We have un !* that he thought his life 
was threatened. His friend Sir Robert Hamilton, seizing 
a sword, rushed out to repulse the * enemy,' when the 
time-honoured custom was explained and all fears allayed. 

Another notable house in the vicinity of Axminster is 
Shute, for a long time the chief residence of the Bonviles, 
and as such the centre of the Yorkist interest in the West. 
William Lord Bonvile was the chief adherent of the party 
of the White Rose in Devon, and played a prominent part 
in the local controversies of the day. His daughter 
Margaret married Sir William Courtenay, whose family 
were almost to a man Lancastrian, but the feuds of the 
Bonviles and the Courtenays were none the less severe 
on that account. What has been termed a duel, in all 
probability a set-fight, between Lord Bonvile and Thomas 
Courtenay, Earl of Devon, came off upon Clyst Heath. 
In October, 1455, Nicholas Radford, * who was of counseil 
with my Lord Bonvyle,' and who lived at Upcott Manor, 
near Crediton, was murdered by a party of men headed by 
the Earl of Devon's eldest son ; and when Parliament met 
complaint was made of the * grete and grevous riotes done 
in the West Countrey betwene th' Erie of Devonshire and 
the Lord Bonvile, by the which som men have been 
murdred, some robbed, and children and wymen taken.' 
Bonvile was not, however, the only staunch friend of the 
House of York in these parts. There still remain at 
Olditch, in Thorncombe^ a few walls of the mansion of 
Lord Cobham, which was attacked by a party of some 200 
men * with force and armes arayd in man'r of werre * under 
James Butler, Earl of Ormond — Cobham being as hearty a 
partizan 01 the White Rose as Wiltshire was of the Red. 

The Bonviles were one of the families extinguished by 
these wars. Lord Bonvile was beheaded after the second 


68 History of Devonshire. 

— — — ■ — ■ - I 

battle of St. Albans, and his son and grandson being killed 
at Wakefield, Shute passed to his daughter Cicely, who, 
by her marriage with Sir Thomas Grey, Marquis of 
Dorset, became ancestress of Lady Jane Grey. Shute, 
which retains its fine old Tudor gatehouse, has for some 
three centuries belonged to the Poles. 

The intricacies of its ground-plan have been assumed to 
indicate a British origin for the little town of Colyton ; 
and it is clearly one of those ancient places that have 
grown up by slow degrees around an original hamlet, and 
along the lines of the trackways connecting the houses 
of the first settlers. Though never a place of any great 
importance, it has been associated with not a few notable 
families — the De Dunstanvilles and Bassets, Yonges, 
Courtenays, Poles, Petres, and Drakes among the number. 
The hamlet of Colyford, midway between Colyton and 
Seaton, is probably of older date, was chartered by the 
Bassets and the Courtenays, and had its fair and its 
mayor, to whom the profits of the fair belonged. Coly- 
ton, held by Harold before the Conquest, became a royal 
demesne. It had a fair, granted by King John ; and for 
some centuries was the chief market of the district. 

The most notable manor in the parish is Colcombe, an 
ancient seat of the Courtenays, who built a castellated 
mansion there about the year 1280. They held it until 
the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter in 1538. Then 
the house fell into decay, but was rebuilt early in the 
seventeenth century by Sir William Pole, the Devonshire 
historian and antiquary. Since his posterity preferred 
to live at Shute, Colcombe Castle, as it is popularly 
called, was again deserted. Colyton, however, made its 
first mark in history in connection with this quondam 
dwelling of the Courtenays ; for Colcombe became the 
headquarters of a detachment of Royalists, and as the 
neighbouring town of Lyme was devoted to the Parlia- 

Axminster and the Axe. 69 

meniary interest, there was more than one sharp 
encounter, which did not materially h^lp the integrity of 
the building. All that remains of this ancient mansion 
now forms part of a farmhouse ; and the most interesting' 
memorial, alike of Colcombe and the Courtenays, yet to 
be found in Colyton, is the * Little Choky Bone' monu- 
ment in the fine old church of St. Andrew. A noble 
altar tomb, with canopy, contains the recumbent figure of 
a girl wearing a coronet, with the royal and Courtenay 
arms. * Margaret, daughter of William Courtenay, Earl 
of Devon, and the Princess Katherine, youngest daughter 
of Edward IV., King of England, died at Colcombe, 
choked by a fishbone, a.d. mdxii.* So runs the in- 
scription ; but there are doubters, both as to the assign- 
ment of the memorial and the cause of death. Many of 
the Poles are buried in the church, and among them the 
antiquary, whose * Collections' have formed such a rich 
storehouse for the modern historian and genealogist. The 
Poles have been settled in Devon from the reign of 


Richard IL 

In the town of Colyton are yet portions of the * Great 
House,' long the residence of the Yonges. Here Sir 
Walter Yonge, in 1680, entertained the Duke of Mon- 
mouth in his progress in the West of England. The 
Puritanic sympathies of the townsfolk generally were 
plainly manifested, not only when Colcombe was held by 
the troops of Prince Maurice, but when the duke landed 
at Lyme. Many Colyton men joined his standard ; not a 
few were present at Sedgmoor ; and history, as well as 
tradition, has sad tales to tell of the fate of those who fell 
into the hands of ' Kirke's lambs,' or came before Jeffries. 
One of these stories is that a wool-trader named Speed was 
boiled in his own furnace ; and in any case Colyton had its 
full share of hangings and quarterings. Several men em- 
ployed by Sir William Yonge in building his mansion at 
Escot, now the seat of Sir John Kennaway, and who Coined 

History of Devonshire. 

the insurgents, were hung within a mile of his gates, though 
he himself escaped. 

The most notable worthy of Colyton parish is Sir 
Thomas Gates, bom at Colyford ; who, with his neigh- 
bour and friend Sir George Somers, a native of the little 
Dorset port of Lyme, sailed for Virginia, with a fleet of 
nine vessels, in 1609. The vessel in which were Gates 
and Somers was separated from the rest of the fleet by a 
storm, and driven on the * still vext Bermoothes.' No 
lives were lost, and the stout-hearted adventurers took 
possession of the little archipelago for the King, under the 
name of the Somers Islands. At length they built vessels 
to transport themselves to Virginia ; and on their arrival 
Gates took up his ofiice as Governor, and held it until his 
death in 1620. 

Axmouth is only the shadow of its ancient self; but its 
antiquity is well attested by the fact that, although some 
distance from the sea, it bears this name instead of 
Seaton, which is really at the river's * mouth.* Another 
reason, alike for its age and ancient importance, is that 
it gave name to one of the original hundreds of the 
county, and this the smallest, so that the population here 
in the early days of Saxon rule must have been com- 
paratively dense. Moreover, it was a member as Axan- 
mu5a of the Woodbury Guild. The hill above is crowned 
with earthworks ; and traces have frequently been found 
which prove Axmouth to have once been something more 
even than the * olde and bigge fischar toune ' of Leland. 
The church apart, it is a very unimportant place now. 

Axmouth appears in * Domesday ' as part of the royal 
demesne ; but it passed to the Redverses, and was given 
by Richard de Redvers to the Abbey of Monteburgh in 
Normandy. Loders Priory, near Bridport, was a cell to 
this abbey; and Axmouth eventually became an append- 
age rather of Loders than of the mother house. When 

Axminster and the Axe. Ji 

Henry V. seized the possessions of the alien monasteries, 
Loders was dissolved, and Axmouth given to the Abbey 
of Sion. That in its turn suppressed, Axmouth became 
part of the jointure of Queen Catharine Parr, and 
Edward VL gave it to Walter Erie. For some two 
centuries it has been the property of the Hallets. Sted- 
combe House, a seat of the Erles, was garrisoned by Sir 
Walter for the Parliament, but taken and burned in March, 
1644, by a party of Prince Maurice's troops. The Erles 
then resided at Bindon, now a farmhouse, but retaining 
many traces of its ancient state, particularly its domestic 
chapel. Sir Walter Erie had been imprisoned for refusing 
to lend money to the King, and in revenge seized Lyme 
for the Parliament in 1642. At Rousdon, which is a 
member of the manor of Axmouth, Sir H. W. Peek has 
erected the most magnificent modern mansion in Devon. 

Probably no greater divergence of opinion concerning 
any matter of Devonian topography has arisen than 
touching the site of Moridunum, the lost Roman station 
between Durnovaria and Isca Dunmoniorum. The early 
writers generally, from Camden onwards, including 
Stukeley, Musgrave, Gale, Hoare, and Borlase, place it 
at Seaton, regarding sea and mor as equivalents. Horseley 
locates it at Eggardun, eight miles from Dorchester ; 
Baxter at Topsham, four miles from Exeter ; Mr. J. 
Davidson and Mr. P. O. Hutchinson at Hembury Fort ; 
Mr. J. B. Davidson at Honiton ; Mr. Heineken at Dump- 
don. In truth, the whole district is singularly barren 
of traces of Roman presence and intercourse, though 
abounding in * camps ' and relics of ancient life. More- 
over, while one interpretation of Moridunum is Mor- 
y-dun, * sea-town,' another is Mawr-y-dun, the ' great hill 
fortress.' Probably Hembury is the true site. There are 
remains of a ' camp ' at High Peak, Sidmouth, that meet 
the requirements of the Itinerary as to distance. 

72 History of Devonshire. 

Whether Seaton be the lost Roman station or not, a 
few years ago it was a mere village ; now it is a ' watering- 
place.' In time of yore, like other towns along this line 
of coSist, where the sea has made great inroads, it was a 
port of some importance. But even when Leland wrote, 
he had to say, * Ther hath beene a very notable haven.' 
That the Romans did something more than visit the 
neighbourhood, the foundations of a Roman villa, ex- 
cavated at Hannaditches in 1859, amply testify. The 
older antiquaries have much to say of the discovery of the 
remains of vessels and of the original harbour- works ; 
but of late little has been found, though enough to show 
that the Axe was navigable in the Middle Ages to a con- 
siderable distance from the sea; and to justify the con- 
clusion therefore that in Roman times the harbour, 
whatever the precise situation of the town, was one of 
very considerable importance. Probably this is as far 
as we can now get. The first definite authority here 
is * Domesday.' Beer and Flveta, which included 
Seaton, are set forth as belonging to the Priory of 
Horton, in Dorsetshire, and as having an enumerated 
population of fifty-five. The Earl of Moreton had 
taken from Beer a ferling of land and four salt-works, 
but at Flveta the Priory had twenty salt-works, and this 
was Seaton proper. When under Henry I. (1122), 
the possessions of Horton went to the Abbey of Sher- 
borne, Beer and Seaton passed with them, and so 
continued until the Dissolution. The growth of Seaton 
as a port was fostered by its monastic lords ; and in the 
fourteenth century it had attained such importance that 
it furnished two ships and twenty-five men as its con- 
tingent to the Calais expedition. A century later new 
harbour-works were needed, and we find Bishop Lacy 
granting forty days' indulgence to true peniteiits who 
should contribute to the works * in nova portu in litterore 
mzris apud Seion.^ These works were the basis upon 

Axminsier and the Axe. 73 

which at various times efforts were made to restore to 
Seaton something of its old mercantile importance. The 
Erles of Bindon took the matter in hand, and the late 
Mr. J. H. Hallet spent considerable sums. Nay, in the 
early part of the present century a novel effort was made 
by the farmers of the neighbourhood, who sent so many 
men each, according to the sizes of their farms, to dig 
out the ancient harbour, and actually made considerable 
progress before their efforts were defeated by a flood. 

At the Dissolution, Seaton, like Axmouth, became part 
of the jointure of Queen Catharine Parr, the reversion 
being granted by Henry to John Frye of Yarty. He sold 
it to the Willoughbys, and the heiress of Willoughby 
brought it to the Trevelyans, its present lords. 

' The fishing village of Beer is about a mile from Seaton, 
and the property of the RoUes. There is a local tradition 
that it was resettled in the time of Elizabeth by the crew 
of a wrecked Spanish vessel, who found the place almost 
depopulated by the plague. Beer was the chief smug- 
gling, haunt of the East-Devon coast in the past century; 
and here lived the prince of Western smugglers, *Jack 
RattenburyV the pluckiest and luckiest of them all, whose 
memory has already passed into the heroic, not to say 
the mythical stage. Beer is a seat of the Honiton lace 
manufacture. In the Middle Ages the chalk hills behind 
supplied the most famous local * freestone ' of the county 
• — the * Beer stone" used for much of the older work in 
Exeter Cathedral, and in the churches of Eastern Devon, 
and finding its way much farther afield. The original 
quarries are subterranean workings of great extent. 


No town in Devonshire has yielded a more concise and 
complete numismatological record than Sidmouth ; for it 
dates back to the time of the Romans, and has repre- 
sentatives of almost every reign since the Conquest, with 
illustrations of foreign intercourse in the coins of French 
and other nations. Probably other ancient seaports might 
prove equally rich, but none have been worked so vigorously 
by competent local antiquaries. The most interesting find 
of Roman times is the fragment of a bronze centaur, sup- 
posed to have adorned one of the standards. Sidmouth 
in Roman days had an open harbour, but this has been 
long destroyed by the recession of the red sandstone cliffs ; 
and the little river now percolates to the sea through the 
pebbles of the beach — so that Sidmouth is now altogether 
a misnomer. It is probable, however, that in addition to 
the outer harbour the channel of the Sid itself formerly 
afforded access to shipping. 

The recorded history of Sidmouth begins with the pos- 
session of the manor by Gytha, mother of Harold. It 
was then an appendage to Otterton, and after the Conquest 
was given to the Norman St. Michael's Mount. The Prior 
of Otterton acted as the deputy of the abbot of the 
superior house. The Otterton cartulary is yet in existence, 
and contains a list of the inhabitants of Sidmouth in 1260 

SidmoutJu 75; 

with the service of each. The whole sum raised for the 
lord was about ^18 a year, and Mr. P. O. Hutchinson has 
calculated that the 160 tenants represent a population at 
that date of some 600. Even then Sidmouth must have 
been of some little importance, and it evidently retained 
its harbour. The ' port ' is mentioned in the early part of 
the fourteenth century; and the bailiff of the ville of 
Sidmouth, as a seaport town, sent a representative to a 
shipping council of Edward III. 

St. Michael's Mount, as an alien house, lost the rich 
manor of Sidmouth in 1414, and it was given to the 
Convent of Sion. The year before the Dissolution it was 
leased by Agnes Jordan, the last abbess, for ninety-nine 
years, to Richard Gosnell. The manor, however, reverted 
to the Crown, and was granted by Elizabeth to Sir William 
Peryam. James sold it to Christopher Mainwaring, and 
he disposed of the great tithes to Dorothy Wadham (who 
gave them to Wadham College), and the manor to Sir 
Edmund Prideaux of Netherton, in whose family it con- 
tinued for nearly two centuries. 

One of the proofs of the antiquity of Sidmouth is the 
occurrence of remains of Norman work in the walls of 
the church, rebuilt, with the exception of the tower, in 
1859-60, and dating historically from the dedication in 
1259. The west window of this church is a memorial 
to the Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria, who died 
at Sidmouth in 1820. The window is a very fine one by 
Ward and Hughes, and was presented by her Majesty. 

Sidmouth may now seem an unlikely place to have 
attracted the attention of the Duke and Duchess of Kent 
as a pleasant residence for themselves and their infant 
daughter; but it had sprung into considerable notoriety 
as a fashionable resort some twenty years before, and 
retained its reputation as the Torquay of the period for a 
score of years afterwards. George IV., when Prince of 
Wales, lived here for a short time with Lord Gwyder; 

76 History of Devonshire, 

and the fame of Sidmouth spread so far that in 1831 it 
attracted for three naonths the Grand Duchess H6l6ne of 
Russia. These were the golden days of the little watering- 
place, to which the old inhabitants still look fondly back, 
although their town now enjoys all the advantages of 
railway communication, and is keeping fairly abreast of 
the times. 

Concerning Otterton there is not much to say. The 
Priory to which Otterton itself, Sidmouth, and other 
manors in the neighbourhood belonged, as a cell of St. 
Michael's Mount in Normandy, was a small foundation 
for four monks only. It is said to have originated with 
King John, but it is quite as likely that he simply confirmed 
an arrangement previously existing. Its connection with 
the Mount lasted until the fall of the alien houses. The 
remains of the Priory are very scanty — a few fragments of 
crumbling wall adjoining the church, and the venerable 
* fayre house ' built by Richard Duke, purchaser after the 
Dissolution, and the ancestor of the Duke family, now 
represented in name and blood by the Yonges of Puslinch, 
near Plymouth, and the Coleridges of Ottery, the two 
coheiresses of Duke marrying into the families of Yonge 
and Taylor, and the heiress of Taylor marrying Coleridge. 

Bicton is associated with a very peculiar tenure, and 
with an amusing series of historical blunders. Soon 
after the Conquest, Bicton manor was granted to one of 
the Norman followers of William — a certain William the 
Porter, whose duty it was to keep the door of the gaol, 
and who held Bicton by this service. This tenure con- 
tinued for some 700 years, down to the year 1787 ; and 
the early owners of the manor-house at different periods 
took the names Portitor, De Porta, De la Porte, and 
Janitor. From the Janitors it came to the La Arbalisters, 
the Sackvilles, and the Coplestones, and by sale to 
Robert Denis, whose heiress Anne carried it to Sir 

SidmoiUh. Jj 

Henry Rolle, of Stevenstone, from whom it descended to 
the late Lord Rolle. It is now held by trustees during 
Lady RoUe's life for the Hon. Mark Rolle, brother of 
Lord Clinton. It was under the present family that the 
ancient tenure came to an end. It had lasted long 
enough to float a marvellous series of traditions, over 
which nearly every historical writer in the county has 
tripped — based upon the idea that where the tenure was 
there the gaol must have been also ! Thus it is gravely 
said that the county gaol was first at Harpford, and 
then at Bicton, before it was removed to Exeter. West- 
cote states that Henry I., who simply confirmed to John 
Janitor the keeping of the gate of Exeter Castle and 
gaol, moved the gaol to the city ; and the Lysonses aver 
that it was moved from Bicton to Exeter for greater 
security in 1518. Proof, however, is quite clear to the 
contrary, Mr. P. O. Hutchinson discovered in the 

* Hundred Rolls ' of Edward I. the statement that Bicton 
was held in serjeantry by the service of keeping * Exeter 
Gaol ;' and another entry to the same purport in the 

* Testa de Neville.' 

The village of Branscombe, with its partially Norman 
church, claims a niche not merely in county but in 
general history, from its personal connections. Soon 
after the. Conquest the property of a family named after 
the place, it passed to the Wadhams, by whom it was 
held for eight generations. Nicholas and Dorothy 
Wadham, the last owners of that name, founding Wadham 
College, appropriated thereto great portion of their wealth. 
When Nicholas Wadham died, in 1609, he left his estate 
to the families of Wyndham and Strangways. A monu- 
ment in the church is appropriated to Dorothy Wadham. 
The Wadhams lived in an old house still standing, called 
Edge, or Egge. 

Sidbury, like many other villages and hamlets of the 
district, is a seat of the lace-manufacture. At Sand is 

78 History of Devonshire. 

the old Elizabethan mansion of the Huyshe family ; and 
in the church, originally Norman, but rebuilt, is an in- 
scription recording the death of one Henry Parson, * in 
the second-first climacteric year of his age ;* and what 
that might have been in Arabic figures, no one has been 
able to decide. 

A stone at the * Hunter's Lodge,* five miles firom 
Sidmouth on the Honiton road, is the subject of very 
diverse traditions. According to one, it is the slaughter- 
stone of a band of witches ; according to another, it 
covers a heap of treasure. Like some other huge stones 
in the neighbourhood, it is said to go down into the 
valley to drink when it hears the clock strike midnight ; 
though a neighbour varies the performance by turning 
round three times when twelve is heard. The latter 
piece of folk-lore wit closely resembles the story told of 
: Roborough Rock, near Plymouthr— a xraggy mass which 
from one point presents a singularly exact profile of 
George IIL This rock turns round whenever it hears 
the cock crow; and, if report speaks true, the per- 
iormance has been eagerly watched, for by credulous 



Unless we are to assume that in Honiton we have the 
lost Moridunum, its history begins with ' Domesday,' when 
it was held by Drogo ujider the Earl of Moreton, who had 
succeeded Elmer the Saxon. It was even then, however, 
a place of no little importance, gelding for five hides, and 
having land for eighteen ploughs, with a recorded popur- 
Jation of twenty-four villeins and ten serfs and bordars. 
Moreover, it had a mill worth 6s. 6d., and two salt-workers, 
rendering 5s. The manor, however, did not reach the 
sea or a tidal estuary, for the salt-works were those 
referred to as having been appropriated by the Earl of 
Moreton at Beer, so that each * salinarius ' had charge of 
two *salinse.' 

In the reign of Henry I. we find Honiton in the Redvers 
family, and in that line it continued mainly until it came 
to the Courtenavs. These held it until 1807,. when the 
third viscount sold it because — so current gossip averred 
— his nephew had twice been defeated in contesting the 
representation. From that time until the borough was 
disfranchised it changed hands several times, its chief 
value lying in the political influence conferred. 

Although situated on the main road into the county 
from the south-east, Honiton makes a poor figure. in the 
national history ; and, save as a Parliamentary borough. 

^o History of Devonshire. 

its importance has always been very slight It sent repre- 
sentatives so far back as the thirteenth century ; but inter- 
mitted for some hundreds of years, and did not resume 
until 1640. For a long period it was very much of a 
family borough. Members of the Yonge family sat almost 
continuously from 1640 to 1796 ; and the Courtenays and 
Dukes were frequent representatives. The most notable 
member of modern days was the famous Lord Dundonald, 
when Lord Cochrane. Contesting the borough in 1806, 
and losing the election, he paid all who voted for him ten 
guineas. Shortly afterwards there was another election, 
and the result of this liberality was that he went in with 
flying colours. Then he declined to pay any more, and 
denounced the venality of his constituents. The borough 
was finally disfranchised in i868. It was only made a 
municipality in 1846. 

There is a curious nut for antiquaries to crack in the 
seal of the Honiton Corporation. So far as the device 
goes, it is a copy of one presented to the town by Sir W. 
J. Pole in 1640; but what this original device meant no 
two writers seem to agree. The engraver of the modern 
seal interpreted it thus: A pregnant female figure to 
knees — ^whether kneeling is not clear — before a demi-figure 
erased, with long hair, but apparently a male. Above, a 
huge hand, fingers as in benediction ; below, a spray of 
honeysuckle in bloom. One of the old antiquaries calls 
the demi-figure an idol, and the hand obstetric, and con- 
nects the device with an old legend that barren women 
in Honiton, in old time, were directed to pass a whole day 
and night in prayer in St. Margaret's Chapel, when they 
would become pregnant by a vision. It has also been 
thought to have some connection with the fanciful ety- 
mology which interprets Hcyiii as ' shame.' 

Honiton many years flourished exceedingly by the wool 
trade ; and for some two or three centuries has been a seat 
of the manufacture of the lace to which it has given name. 

Honiton. 8i 

though less Honiton lace is now made in Honiton itself 
than in several of the other towns and villages in the 
district. The art is said to have been originally intro- 
duced by Flemish refugees, of whom many settled in the 
neighbourhood, their descendants being yet traceable by 
their names, though in many cases these are anglicised. 
But the art may be of older date and have extended over 
a much wider area, for it is to this manufacture that 
Shakespeare alludes in * Twelfth Night,' in language as 
apt now as if written but yesterday in East Devon itself: 

' The spinsters and the knitters in the sun. 
And the free maids that weave their thread with bones, 
Do use to chant it/ 

Like other East and North Devon towns, where thatch 
has abounded, Honiton has had its fires; and in 1765, 115 
houses and the Chapel of AUhallows were burnt. This 
will account for the general absence of traces of antiquity- 
There was an ancient chapel of Thomas k Becket. 

The worthies of Honiton are few and far between. The 
Pole family, now of Shute, appear to have sprung from 
the little town ; but the most important individual notable 
of old time is Thomas Marwood, physician to Queen 
Elizabeth, who died — according to the epitaph on his 
tomb in the old parish church — at the age of 105. 
Honiton was also the birthplace of Ozias Humphry, R.A. 
(1742-1810), an artist of great merit; and of William 
Salter (1804-75), the painter of the * Waterloo Banquet' 
One of his finest works, * The Entombment of Christ,' 
was given by Salter to the church of his native town* 

In the parish of Gittisham, but close to the Honiton 
boundary, Johanna Southcott was bom, about the year 
1750. She was a woman of enthusiastic spirit, and, 
though illiterate, of much natural ability. She founded a 
sect which at one time had over 100,000 members, and 

82 History of Devonshire. 

which lingered on with a few earnest adherents — the men 

distinguished, in sha\ing-days, by unfashionable beards — 
until the last few years. Her special claim was to pro- 
phetic power, and to being the woman of the Revelation ; 
and in that capacity, deceived apparently by disease, she 
in her old age avowed that she was about to become the 
mother of Shiloh ; nor were the hopes of her followers 
finally abandoned with her death in 1814. 

An amusing legend attaches to a spot called * Ring-in-the- 
Mire,' where the parishes of Honiton, Farway, Gittisham, 
and Sidbury meet. Ring-in-the-Mire is a small swamp, 
whence a stream issues ; and the story is that Isabella de 
Fortibus, Countess of Devon, having been annoyed by 
disputes between these parishes concerning their boun- 
daries at this point, ordered a party from each to attend 
her, rode to the place, took a ring from her finger, and 
threw it into the marsh, declaring that where the ring fell 
these parishes should meet, and that she would never 
more be pestered by their disputes. The name is un- 
doubtedly of great antiquity ; but the tradition seems 
made to order ; and, in all probability, * Ring-in-the-Mire' 
is a corruption of a far older and possibly Keltic name. 
* Mire ' is suspiciously like mawr. 

Netherton, in the parish of Farway, was given by 
Walter de Clavill to the Monastery of Canonleigh, and 
became the seat of the Prideaux family in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth, its first owner of that name being Sir 
Edmund Prideaux. Between Buckerell and Broad Hem- 
bury rises the high ground which is crowned by the fine 
earthwork now known as Hembury Fort, with *its adjunct 
or outwork, the long promontory occupied by Bushy Knap 
and Buckerell Knap.* Hembury is the finest * camp ' in 
East Devon, and is the best claimant to be regarded as 
Moridunum. Broad Hembury was parcel of the barony 
of Torrington, and was given by William Lord Briwere 
to Dunkeswell, the abbot of which, about 1290, obtained 

Honiton. 83 

the grant of a weekly market. At Carswell was a small 
Cluniac Priory or cell to Montacute. Toplady, author of 
the * Rock of Ages/ was vicar here. 

Mohuns Ottery, in Luppitt, was long the seat of the 
famous baronial family of Carew, who claim the honour 
of a traceable descent from Anglo-Saxon times. Several 
members of this house acquired great renown in arms. 
The Carews obtained Mohuns Ottery by the marriage 
of Eleanor, elder co-heiress of Sir William Mohun, who 
died in 1280, to John Baron Carew. Her son, another 
John, who died in 1363, was one of the heroes of 
Cressy, and held the distinguished post of Lord Deputy 
o£ Ireland, losing his second son in the Irish wars. 
Thomas Carew, grandson of the Lord Deputy, was like- 
wise famed for his military prowess, and took part in the 
victory of Agincourt, when he kept the passage of the 
Somme. Several of the family came to untimely ends. 
Sir Edmund Carew, who was knighted on Bosworth 
Field, was killed in France in 15 13 ; and three of his 
grandsons fell in kindred ways. Sir John Carew, soldier 
and sailor, was blown up in his vessel, the Mary Rose, 
while engaging a French carrack. Philip Carew, Kaight 
of Malta, was slain by the Turks. Sir Peter Carew was 
killed in Ireland. The last of the Carews of Mohuns 
Ottery was Sir Peter, uncle of the last mentioned, and he 
settled the manor on Thomas Southcott, who had married 
his niece. Sir George Carew, Master of the Ordnance to 
Elizabeth, created Earl of Totnes in 1626, was a younger 
son of .this house, now represented by the Carews of 





The earliest feature in the history of Ottery is ecclesias- 
tical. Undistinguished then from other Otreis that took 
name firom the river along which they lay, it was granted 
by the Confessor, in 1061, to the Abbey of St. Mary at 
Rouen, and thus acquired an association which in later 
times gave it the title of St. Mary Ottery, or Ottery St. 
Mary. ' Domesday ' records it the wealthiest manor in the 
district. Taxed at 25 hides in the time of the Confessor, 
there were 46 carucates in 1086. Moreover it had 17 serfs, 
55 villeins, 24 bordars, and 5 swineherds, byway of popula- 
tion. There were three mills, and a saltwork at Sid- 
mouth, in the land of St. Michael ; and the latter fact will 
help to explain the association of saltworks with Honiton. 
Bishop Grandisson, however, is the real founder of 
Ottery, as we have it now. He seems to have had 
differences with the monks of Rouen, finally settled by 
bis purchase of the manor from them in 1335. Two 
years later he founded the College at Ottery, dedicated to 
Our Lady and St. Edward the Confessor, of which the 
noble church is now almost the only structural relic. This 
College, which he endowed most liberally, consisted of 
forty members with a warden, and one of its earliest 
prebendaries was that Alexander Barclay to whom we owe 
the English ' Ship of Foolis.' 

Ottery St. Mary. 85 

Ottery has the finest parish church in Devon, remark- 
able in its transeptal arrangements as being a reduced 
copy of Exeter Cathedral. Local tradition will have 
it that the cathedral is the copy, an assertion which 
a glance at the two buildings is sufficient to controvert. 
The church was originally built by Bishop Bronescombe, 
possibly on the site of an older edifice of which no 
traces remain, but was largely added to and in part 
rebuilt by Grandisson, who erected therein some family 
monuments* To the Early English work of Bronescombe, 
and the Decorated of Grandisson, the Perpendicular 
Dorset aisle was added by Cicely, daughter and heiress 
of Lord Bonvile (lord of the manor of Knighteston in 
Ottery parish), who married, first, the Marquis of Dorset, 
and, secondly, the Earl of Stafford. The farmhouse of 
Bishops Court takes its name as being reputedly a 
residence of Bishop Grandisson. 

When the College was dissolved a corporation was 
created, to whom Henry VIIL granted the church and its 
appurtenances, with the collegiate buildings, tithes, and 
other properties (saving the tithe of corn), the duty of 
the corporation being to pay certain annuities to the 
vicar and schoolmaster, and to maintain the church and 
school; the latter apparently a free grammar school, 
which took the place of the ancient school of the College. 

It is to this fact that Ottery owes its most famous 
personal associations, for it was while his father, the Rev. 
John Coleridge, was both vicar of Ottery and master of 
the school that Devon's foremost poet, Samuel Taylor 
Coleridge, was born here in 1772 (d. 1834). Since then 
the names of Coleridge and of Ottery have been inseparably 
associated ; and the fame won by the author of * Chris- 
tabel ' and the * Rime of the Ancient Mariner ' has been 
continued in succeeding generations of his family. 
Among the Coleridge memorials in Ottery churchyard is 
a magnificent granite cross of Irish character, erected in 

86 History of Devonshire. 

1877, to commemorate the late Sir John Taylor Coleridge 
(b. Tiverton^ 1790), Jadge of the Queen's Bench, and 
editor of the Quarterly Review between the death of GiflTord 
and the appointment of Lockhart in 1826. Sir John's 
son, the present Lord Coleridge, Lord Chief Justice of 
England, now resides at the family seat of Heath's 

Several notable Devonians were educated at Ottery 
grammar school Two of the most distinguished, beyond 
the various members of the Coleridge faimily, were the 
martyred Bishop Pattison — ^whose life and labours are 
commemorated by the nave pulpit in Exeter Cathedral — 
and Richard Hurrell Froude. Henry VHI. appears to 
have contemplated that it should become a chief educa- 
tional centre for the county; but that expectation has 
never been approached; and, until revived by a new 
scheme in 1883, it had dwindled into utter decay. 

Ottery St. Mary has a very unimportant place in general 
history, though from its position on the main road into 
the county it was frequently visited by distinguished folk. 
The Parliamentary troops were quartered in the church 
for five weeks in 1645, when the pestilence began to rage, 
and they moved. 

Thatch has caused Ottery several visitations of fire. 
The last was in 1866, when iii houses were burned, and 
500 persons rendered homeless. 



The valley of the Culme contains some of the earliest 
settlements of the Saxons in Devon ; and seems to have 
formed the chief road by which the encroaching Wessex 
immigrants pressed on from Somerset after Devon had 
been reduced to Saxon sway. Even yet it retains a few 
distinctive characteristics, 

Cullompton is the chief town in the valley. As a part 
of the royal demesne, the manor was bequeathed by 
Mihed to his son ^Selweard ; and in Saxon times there 
was founded here a collegiate church with five prebends, 
which the Conqueror gave to the Abbey of Battle ; but 
which afterwards passed to the Priory of St. Nicholas in 
Exeter, and so continued until the Dissolution. The 
manor, granted by Richard I. to Richard de Clifford, 
afterwards came to the Redvers Earls of Devon, and the 
first grant of a market was made in 1278 to Earl Baldwin. 
Being one of the manors given by Isabella de Fortibus to 
the Abbey of Buckland, a further grant of market and 
fair was made to that fraternity in 1317. After the Disso- 
lution, the manor was for some time in the St Legers 
and Hillersdens, whose ancient seat of Hillersdon is in 
the parish. 

Cullompton was one of the homes of the woollen trade, 
and to this fact the church owes its most notable feature. 

88 History of Devonshire. 

The Lane Chapel, erected by John Lane in the early part 
of the sixteenth century, is one of the best Devonshire 
examples of florid Perpendicular. An inscription runs 
round the exterior of the aisle, which used mightily to 
puzzle the learned, seeing that it was supposed to confer 
on Lane the novel dignity of * wapentaki custos lanu^rius,' 
when all the while he only asked to be remembered * with 
a paternoster and an ave.' 

Uffculme, adjoining CuUompton on the north-east, 
appears to have had a more considerable trade in serges 
than either of the smaller towns in the vicinity ; and had 
the grant of a market so far back as 1266. Advantage 
was taken of the river to erect machinery, driven by 
water-power ; and the result was that about the middle 
of the last century the place flourished mightily. But 
decay followed close upon. The manor was part of the 
barony of Bampton. Bradfield House in this parish, 
though the manor chiefly lies in CuUompton, has been 
the seat of the Walronds since the reign of Henry HI., 
when they succeeded a family of the Bradfield name. 
The house is one of the most interesting sixteenth-century 
mansions in the county, and the hall still retains its 
original roof and characteristics. 

If the defensible element in the name have any special 
meaning, Culmstock, another ancient market-town and 
seat of the woollen manufacture, may be the oldest of 
the Saxon settlements on the Culm; but, beyond the 
statement that it was given by iEtSelstan to his minster 
in Exeter in 938, it calls for no further remark. 

The last of the Culme Valley villages in this direction is 
Hemyock, concerning which there must be much more 
to be known than has been learnt. The Hidons built a 
castle here, of which there are yet important remains, 
including the main gateway and its towers, and part of 
the general cincture. It is an edifice of great strength, 
and of some peculiar characteristics — Early Edwardian in 

Cullompton and Bradninch. 89 

general character ; but of its history absolutely nothing 
seems to be known, save that it was garrisoned by the 
Roundheads, and used by them as a prison. The manor 
was long in the Dinhams. 

The Abbey of Dunkeswell, sheltered among the neigh- 
bouring hills, was founded in 1201 by William Lord 
Briwere. Two years previously, he had acquired the 
manor of Dunkeswell, and this formed part of the 
endowment of the Abbey, with Briwere's lands in 
Wolford and at Uffculme. Dunkeswell was colonized by 
monks from Ford, and the convent of that place was 
liberal of its gifts to the daughter house. There were 
also other donors, so that the Abbey had a very fair 
start in life. Dunkeswell was chosen by the founder as 
his burial-place in 1227, and it is presumed that his wife 
was also buried there. Not long since, two stone coffins 
were found within the ruins of the Abbey Church, one 
containing the bones of a man, and the other those of a 
woman ; and these are believed to have been the remains 
of Lord and Lady Briwere. All the bones were placed 
in one of the coffins, and reinterred. The annual value 
of the Abbey lands at the surrender was just ;f 300. The 
history of this house was uneventful, and only a few 
fragments of the building remain. 

Bradninch, south of Cullompton, is one of the oldest 
towns in Devon, so far as record goes ; and in the later 
Saxon days must have been the most important centre 
from the source of the Culme to its junction with the Exe. 
Held by Brichtwold under the Confessor, and part of the 
demesne of William Chievre under the Conqueror, 
' Domesday ' enumerates thereon no less than 7 serfs, 42 
villeins, and 16 bordars. Moreover, it had a mill, and its 
annual value was £"14. Perhaps this importance was the 
reason which led to its being attached as an honour or 
barony to the earldom of Cornwall, in favour of his 

90 History of Devonshire. 

natural son Reginald, by Henry I. Appendant to the 
earldom when that merged into the dukedom, since then 
it has formed part of the duchy estates. The seal of the 
town bears the date 1136, which may be intended to 
indicate the year when it came into possession of Earl 
Reginald. It does not seem to have been chartered until 
1208, when King John granted the burgesses all the 
liberties and free customs which the city of Exeter 
enjoyed. Under Edward II. members were returned to 
one Parliament. The town was first incorporated as a 
municipality by James I. in 1604; and the Mayor of 
Exeter, according to * Bradneys lore,* has to hold the 
stirrup of the Mayor of Bradninch whenever the two 
dignitaries meet. Beyond being the headquarters of 
Charles in 1644, and of Fairfax in 1645, and being almost 
consumed by fire in 1665, there are no points in the long 
history of Bradninch worthy of special record. 

Hele, now chiefly known for its paper-mills, was the 
original seat of the elder branch of the ancient Devon- 
shire family of that name. 

The church of the adjoining parish of Plymtree 
contains a screen, which has been described in a valuable 
volume by the late rector, the Rev. T. Mozley. The 
chief feature is a fine array of painted panels. One of 
the groups figured represents the Adoration of the Three 
Kings, and in this Mr. Mozley identifies the portraits of 
Henry VII., Prince Arthur, and Cardinal Morton, *the 
most remarkable Englishman of his period,' of whom 
there is no likeness extant if this be not one. 

Silverton Park, in the parish of Silverton (which once 
boasted a weekly market), is one of the seats of the 
family of Egremont. Among the portraits here is that 
which Reynolds painted of himself for the Corporation 
of Plympton, and which they sold for 3^150 when that 
borough was disfranchised. 


Tiverton is a very old town, taking name from its 
position at the junction of the rivers Exe and Loman, 
formerly the Suning. Tradition avers that in the reign 
of King Alfred it was a village on a little hill, the capital 
of its hundred, and having twelve tithings, and governed 
by a portreeve. Legend also claims it as one of the 
places in which the Danes were massacred by order of 
^iSelred. Be all this as it may (or may not), it is pretty 
clear that a church was erected on the site of the present 
St. Peter soon after the Norman Conquest, and this is said 
to have been consecrated by Leofric in 1073. But this 
would not be the first place of worship Tiverton could 
boast, and possibly we have here a British ecclesiastical 
foundation — as certainly a Saxon. Before the Conquest 
Tiverton formed part of the royal demesne, with the 
hundred of which it was the head, Gytha holding it in 
the reign of Harold ; and it was a place of such im- 
portance at the compilation of ' Domesday,' that it had 
an enumerated population of 68, while several of the 
adjacent manors seem to have been populous like- 

In the reign of Henry I. the manor passed to the family 
of Redvers, and Richard de Redvers, about the year rio6, 
built the castle, which continued one of the principal seats 

92 History of Devonshire. 

of that powerful family for several generations. At the 
death of Baldwin de Redvers in 1245, his widow, Amicia, 
claimed the manor and lordship of Tiverton as part of 
her dower. It had then a weekly market and three fairs 
annually. Her daughter, Isabella de Fortibus, was a 
great benefactor to the town, giving an estate called 
Elmore for the pasturage of the cattle of the poor in- 
habitants ; and being, it is said, the donor of the Town 
Leat, a stream of water conducted some five miles for the 
use of the townsfolk. The last of the family of Redvers 
that held the manor was Isabella's daughter Avelina, 
who married Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, second son of 
Henry III. ; and Tiverton then passed to Hugh Courtenay, 
the first Earl of Devon of the Courtenay line. By the 
Courtenays Tiverton was held, with an interval under the 
Yorkist rule, when the Duke of Clarence was one of the 
lords and Sir Richard Ratclifife another, until the attainder 
of the Marquis of Exeter. 

Mary restored it to Edward Courtenay; but on his 
death it passed, with other estates of the house, into other 
families by the marriages of his coheiresses; and the 
Carews of Haccombe have been the dominant owners, in 
succession to the family of West, since 1759. The manor 
at one time was subdivided into forty parts, but nearly all 
became concentrated in the Carews. 

The Courtenays were good lords to the town. The 
first earl, Hugh, divided the rectory into four portions. 
Westcote amusingly says that this arose from the greed 
of a chaplain who was not satisfied with the living as it 
stood, and complained to his patron. The earl told him 
that he would give him a living more proportionate to 
his deserts, if he would resign this. The chaplain re- 
signing accordingly, the living was divided, and the fourth 
only offered to the late incumbent — * thereby fayrely taught 
to lyve by a crown that would not lyve by a pound.* Earl 
Hugh the first also gave the tolls of Tiverton market to 

Tiverton. 9 


the poor. His son obtained the name of * the good earl/ 

and the inscription on his stately tomb in Tiverton church 


* Hoe hoe, who lyes here r 
'Tis I, the goode Erie of Devonshere, 
With Kate my wyfe, to mee full dere; 
That wee spent wee hadde. 
That wee gave wee have, 
That wee lefte wee loste.' 

Tiverton Castle has borne its share in the history of 
Devon, though not so prominently as its importance would 
suggest. It had part in the wars of Stephen, and was of 
some little note in those of the Roses, as a Lancastrian, 
and afterwards as a Yorkist stronghold. In after years it 
was the place where the Courtenays lived in their greatest 
splendour. It stood a siege, moreover, in the wars of the 
Commonwealth. Tiverton town leant strongly to the 
Parliament ; but the castle was garrisoned for the King, 
the church being also occupied as an important outpost. 
In October, 1645, General Massey was detached by Fairfax 
to besiege the works, which were then under the command 
of Sir Gilbert Talbot. After battering awhile, the castle 
and church were taken by storm on Sunday the 19th, 
with much slaughter. The castle is now one of the 
residences of the Carews, and portions of Edwardian 
date still stand. 

No town in Devon was at one time more actively 
engaged in the woollen manufacture than Tiverton, the 
city of Exeter hardly excepted. The trade seems to 
have begun so far back as the fourteenth century ; and in 
the sixteenth it brought great wealth to those engaged in it. 
This prosperity continued with fluctuations until the latter 
half of the last century. Then decay set in, helped by 
quarrels between the employers and the workmen, which 
developed at times into serious riots. Tiverton is a 
manufacturing town of importance still, in consequence 

94 History of Devonshire. 

of the establishment of a flourishing lace factory there by 
Mr. Heathcoat just sixty years ago. He introduced the 
manufacture of lace net by machinery, and thus completely 
revolutionized this branch of trade. His patent was taken 
out in 1810, but the factory at Tiverton was not founded 
until 1816, when difficulties with his workpeople induced 
him to leave his former residence and settle in Devon. 

Several of the old clothiers of Tiverton made good 
use of their wealth, notably Peter Blundell, by whose 
munificence Blundell's school, the chief of the public 
schools of Devon, was founded in 1604. Blundell was 
born in 1523, of parents who were so poor that he had to 
run errands and otherwise wait upon the carriers for his 
support. Saving a little money, he commenced business 
by sending a piece of cloth to London on sale by one of 
his friends and employers. Gradually he accumulated 
enough to go to London on his own account, and finally 
he began the manufacture of kerseys. Dying unmarried, 
he left the whole of a large fortune for the promotion of 
learning and various charitable purposes. His school was 
well endowed, and has acquired and maintains a very 
high reputation ; and the old buildings have not long been 
abandoned for new and more commodious premises in a 
better situation. Among earlier benefactors to the town, 
connected with the same industry, was John Greenwaye, 
who erected the Greenwaye chapel and a set of almshouses, 
about the year 1517, the chapel being the most elaborate 
and notable portion of the Church of St. Peter. With 
John Greenwaye was associated his wife Joan. And so 
another set of almshouses were built by * John Waldron 
and Richoard his wyfe,' in 1579. No town in Devon, 
and certainly very few in the kingdom in proportion to 
their size, had so many charitable bequests and gifts, and 
of such value, as Tiverton ; but they had sadly depreciated 
when a century since worthy Martin Dunsford compiled 
the first account of them, and dedicated his * Memoirs ' 

Tiverton. 95 

of the town * to all the virtuous and industrious poor of 

Tiverton has been noted, too, for the number and 
ravages of its fires. The first recorded was in April, 1598, 
when, in the course of an hour and a half, 400 houses and 
several public buildings were burnt, and 3^150,000 worth 
of property destroyed, while 33 persons lost their lives. 
This was a severe blow to the town, which only eight 
years previously had lost one in every nine of its popu- 
lation by the plague. But still worse was in store, for 
in August, 1612, the whole of the town was burnt, with 
the exception of the castle, church, school, and almshouses, 
and about thirty poor dwellings. Six hundred houses 
were then destroyed, and the total loss was estimated at 

It is stated to have been partially the result of this that 
a charter of incorporation was granted by James I. in 
1615. From that date to 1885 Tiverton was a Parlia- 
mentary constituency; but there is a statement that a 
couple of burgesses had been previously returned to the 
first Parliament of James I. by the * potwallopers.' 

The next big fire was in November, 1661, when 45 
houses were burnt ; another in 1730 destroyed 15 dwellings, 
with loss of life ; and in June, 173 1, there was one of the 
older type — 298 dwellings being consumed, and 2,000 
persons rendered homeless. Towards the loss of £60,000 
there were £11,000 contributed, the King giving £1,000. 
Twenty houses were burnt in 1762, 25 in 1773, 47 in 1785, 
20 in 1788. 

Blundell is the most notable of the worthies of 
Tiverton ; but there is an old proverb which may refer 
to a real personage of even greater importance in his 
own day : * Go to Tiverton and ask Mr. Able.' Hannah 
Cowley, the dramatist, born Parkhouse (1742-1809), was a 
native of Tiverton ; and the town has produced several 
artists of high repute. Richard Cosway, R.A., a miniature 

96 History of Devonshire. 

painter of the greatest merit, who died in 1821, was the 
son of a master of Blundell's school ; John Cross, his- 
torical painter (1819-1861), was son of the superintendent 
of the lace factory; Richard Crosse, though bom at 
Knowle, near Cullompton, painter in enamel to George 
III. (1745-1810), a deaf mute, may also be named here. 
And Tiverton may finally claim, as a worthy by adoption, 
the late Lord Palmerston, seeing that he sat for this quiet 
little borough from 1835 ^^til his death, the pride of both 
political parties. 

A battle was fought at Cranmore Castle, near CoUi- 
priest, adjoining Tiverton, in 1549, in which a party of the 
insurgents who rose for the restoration of Roman 
Catholicism were defeated, and several hung and quar- 

There are several places of historical interest in the 
vicinity of Tiverton. Worth, in Washfield, is one of the 
three places in Devon which still remain the possession 
and residence of families of the same name, the Worths 
having been seated there since the thirteenth century. 
The other examples are Fulford of Fulford and Kelly of 
Kelly, of which more anon. The Exe Bickleigh was the 
birthplace of the notorious Bampfylde Moore Carew 
(1690-1758), *the king of the beggars,' whose father, 
Theodore Carew, was sometime rector. Not far distant, 
on opposite sides of the Exe Valley, rise the rival heights 
of Cadbury and Dolbury, crowned by ancient earthworks, 
of which the rhyme runs, evidently archaic : 

*If Cadbury Castle and Dolbuxy Hill dolven were 
Then Devon might plough with a golden coulter 
And eare with a gilded shere ' — 

so vast is the treasure that lies therein hidden under 
charge of a fiery dragon I Fairfax made Cadbury his 
rendezvous, December 26th, 1645. 

Tiverton, 97 

Halberton church was given by William Earl of 
Gloucester to the Abbey of St. Augustine ; and, with the 
manor of Halberton Abbot, or Halberton Dean, passed 
to the Dean and Chapter of Bristol. The adjacent 
village of Sampford Peverell, described in old records as 
a borough, had a somewhat considerable v/oollen manu- 
facture. Named from its ancient lords, the Peverells, it 
was some time in the Dinhams and the Paulets. One 
of its owners was Margaret, Countess of Richmond, 
mother of Henry VH., who is said to have lived here, 
and built the south aisle of the church, which contains 
the defaced efBgy of a crusader, supposed to be Sir Hugh 
Peverell, 1259. 


Hampton affords a notable instance of decadence. A 
very poor little market-town now, it was once the head of 
an honour held of the Conqueror by Walter de Douay. 
Previously it had formed part of the royal demesne. 
* Domesday ' records a population of 68, including 15 
swineherds, rendering io6i pigs, whose presence indi- 
cates the existence of extensive woods, set down as 320 
acres. A hide adjacent to the manor had been held by 
five thanes, and here Walter had three tenants, with 
eight serfs, bordars, and villeins ; while half a furlong was 
held by William de Moion, unjustly to the said Walter. 
There was also a mill ; and the value of all Bampton was 
^18, but had been £21. 

A chalybeate spring here led Polwhele to call Bampton 
a Roman station : his etymology for the river Batham, 
on which it stands, being Bath-therma — hot baths ! But 
the Batham was originally no doubt the Baeth, and the 
town Baeth-ham-tun, unless the ham be, as Dr. Pring has 
suggested in ' hampton ' suffixes, a corruption of the Keltic 
avon, through aw or aun. It has been claimed as the 
Beamdune where Kynegils defeated the Britons in 614; 
but that was Bampton in Oxfordshire. 

Walter de Douay's son, Robert de Bampton, had an 
only daughter, who brought the manor to the Paganells ; 

Bampion. 99 

and thence again it passed to the Cogans by the marriage 
of the Paganell heiress to Sir Milo Cogan, *the great 
soldier and undertaker of the Irish Conquest.' Her 
descendant, Richard Cogan, had licence in 1336 to 
-castellate his mansion house at Bampton, and to empark 
his wood and other lands at Uffculme. Every vestige of 
the castle has long disappeared. The Fitzwarrens, 
Hankfords, and Bourchiers were successively lords of the 
manor, and it was afterwards purchased by the ancestor 
of the present Earl of Portsmouth. 

John de Bampton, the Aristotelian Carmelite (d. 1391) 
was born at Bampton. In the following century the 
church was made the subject of a singular exchange. It 
had belonged to the Prior of Bath ; but was given, under 
an Act of Parliament in 1439, to the Abbot of Buckland, 
in compensation for surrendering his jurisdiction in 
Plymouth, as lord of the hundred of Roborough, the 
burgesses paying the Prior of Bath in his turn 10 marks 

The adjacent parish of Morebath (and the name affords 
additional evidence of the original name of the river) was 
once the property of the Abbey of Barlynch, of which a 
few traces yet remain within a short distance of 
Dulverton, in Somerset. Clayhanger claims notice as 
having been the property of the Knights Templars, who, 
according to Tanner, had a hospital there. The Knights 
Hospitallers are subsequently said to have held the 

Wadham in Knowstone parish, the original residence 
of the Wadhams, is one of the few Devon manors noticed 
in * Domesday,' as continuing in the same Saxon hands 
from the reign of the Confessor, and the Lysonses suggest 
it as not improbable that the holder, Ulf, may have been 
the ancestor of the Wadham family. There is at any rate 
nothing to militate against this hypothesis. Knowstone 
gave Devon a worthy in Sir John Berry, an eminent 


TOO History of Devonshire, 

naval ofiBcer, and sometime Governor of Deal (1635-1691), 
bom here while his father was vicar. He was of a 
younger branch of the Berrys of Berry Narber. His 
father, through adherence to Charles I., xiied in great 
poverty, and the son was at first apprenticed to a trades- 
maji at Plymouth. His master failing, he walked to 
London, and obtained employment in a small vessel. By 
dint of ability and pluck, he speedily rose to the rank of 
captain in the navy. He served with the greatest dis- 
tinction and success against both French and Dutch, and 
at length reached the highest honours of his profession, 
valued alike by the second Charles and James, and by 

At Canonleigh, in Burlescombe, not far from the 
Somersetshire border, are the remains of a monastery, 
originally founded by Walter Claville, temp. Henry H., 
for a prior and Austin canons. Maud de Clare, Countess 
of Gloucester, converted it, however, in the reign of 
Edward I. into a nunnery for an abbess and canonesses 
of the same order. At the Dissolution, the house had a 
clear yearly rental of £197 3s. id. A market had been 
granted to it in 1286. The lands by exchange became 
the property of Sir George St. Leger. In Burlescombe 
parish is Ayshford, the seat of one of the oldest families 
of this part of Devon, now represented on the female 
side by the Ayshford Sandfords, of Nynehead. 

Holcombe Rogus takes name from Rogo, its tenant 
under Baldwin the Sheriff, from whom it descended, 
through Chiseldon (Richard Chiseldon obtained a market 
in 1343), to the Bluetts. Colonel Francis Bluett, an 
active Cavalier, was killed at the siege of Lyme in 1644. 
Spurway, in Okeford, was the original seat of the family 
of that name. 



South Molton is the principal centre in a district 
skirting the southern flank of Exmoor, which is singularly 
barren in features of historical interest. Probably the 
Melamoni of the Ravennat ; an ancient market-town of 
considerable importance ; largely engaged in the serge 
and shalloon manufacture; represented in Parliament 
in the reign of Edward I, ; incorporated by Elizabeth 
in 1640 — never but once did it forsake the even tenor 
of its business way. And then it was rather by acci- 
dent than design that John Penruddock and Hugh Grove 
here proclaimed Charles II. in 1655, and formally com- 
menced a rising which, so far as they were concerned, 
never got further than words, but led to their execution 
at Exeter on the i6th of May following. Penruddock 
and Grove were Wiltshire Royalists, and with their 
followers were taken prisoners by a party of soldiers 
under Captain Crook. 

The most interesting facts about South Molton are 
connected with the families of whose estates it formed 
part. Originally ancient demesne of the Crown (one 
virgatewas held of the King by four priests in alms at the 
compilation of ' Domesday '), in the reign of Edward I 
it was held by Lord Martin, under the Earl of Gloucester, 
by the service of finding a bow with three arrows to 

102 History of Devonshire 

attend the Earl when he should hunt in Gower. It was 
afterwards held by the Audleys, by the Hollands, and 
was granted for life to Margaret, Duchess of Richmond, 
in 1487. Other manors in the parish now belong to Earl 
Fortescue and Sir T. D. Acland. 

The adjoining parish of North Molton is a mineral 
district, and has yielded small quantities of gold. The 
manor was part of the portion of Eadgytha, wife of the 
Confessor, and was given by John to Roger le Zouch. 
From the Zouches it passed to the St. Maurs, then to 
the Bampfyldes, and is now the property of Lord 
Poltimore. The church was given by Alan le Zouch, 
circa 1313, to the monastery of LilleshuU, in Shropshire. 
North Molton is also the ancient dwelling of the Parkers, 
now Earls of Morley; and the Lysonses suggest that 
before the Reformation they were tenants of this house* 
A holy well here still retains some reputation. Holy 
Thursday being the special day of visitation; and at 
FUtton is one of the most famous oaks in Devon, 33 feet 
in circumference close to the ground. Here, too, is the 
chief home of the leading strain of the famous native 
Devon cattle ; while the rugged expanse of Exmoor ad- 
joining is still tenanted by herds of the wild red-deer. 

MoUand, or MoUand Bottreaux, had a dominant 
position in the hundreds of North Molton, Braunton, 
and Bampton, taking their third penny, and having the 
right to a third of the pasture of animals on the adjacent 
moors. Before the Conquest it belonged to Harold, and 
it passed to William. Shortly after the Conquest it 
came to the Bottreauxs, whence its second name, and 
continued in that ancient house until the reign of 
Henry VL The church was given by William de 
Bottreaux to Hartland Abbey. The Bishop of Cloyne 
regarded Molland as a British town, and it certainly does 
lie upon an ancient trackway ; but that it was the Roman 
station Termolus of Richard of Cirencester, which the 

SotUh Mollon. 103 

Bishop had * no hesitation ' in fixing, is an assertion 
that in the present day hardly needs to be controverted. 
Even if the authority were accepted, there is no trace 
whatever of the Roman in the neighbourhood. 

Romansleigh, indeed, lying some miles to the south- 
west, has, on the strength of its name, been held to 
support the hypothesis of Roman occupation. It is 
really, however, Rumonsleigh, from St. Rumon, the 
patron saint of Tavistock Abbey, which had an estate 

In Filleigh is Castle Hill, the seat of Earl Fortescue, 
the representative of this most ancient and distinguished 
family, whose surname, as in their motto. Forte scutum^ 
salus ducum, is said to signify a * strong shield.' The 
common ancestor was settled at Wimpston or Wymon- 
deston in Modbury, which, according to the family tradi- 
tion, was given to Richard le Forte, shield-bearer to the 
Conqueror, for his good services at Hastings. * Domesday ' 
disposes of this by showing that Wimpston (Winestane) 
was held by Reginald de Valletort under the Earl of 
Moreton. John Fortescue was, however, settled at 
Wimpston in 1209; and the elder branch continued to 
live there until early in the seventeenth century. The 
family branched out from Wimpston to Preston, Sprid- 
dleston, Shipham, Wood, Fallapit, Wear Giffard, 
Filleigh, and Buckland Filleigh in Devon, and settled 
also in Cornwall, Hertford, Essex, Buckingham, and 

Of its many distinguished members the most celebrated 
is Sir John Fortescue, Lord Chief Justice (1442) and 
Chancellor to Henry VI., who was born at Noreis in 
North Huish, and was author of the great work on 
jurisprudence — * De Laudibus Legum Angliae.' From him 
descends the present Earl Fortescue. Other notable 
Fortescues are Sir John, Captain of Meux in France, 
temp. Henry V. ; Sir Henry, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland; 

104 History of Devonshire. 

Sir Adrian, who did service at Calais for Henry VIL; Sir 
Edmund, of Fallapit, High Sheriff for Charles I. and 
Governor of the Castle of Salcombe ; Sir Faithful, who 
also rendered good service to Charles, whom he joined at 
Edgehill. The public services of the late Earl Fortescue 
are commemorated by a statue in the Castle Yard, Exeter. 

The Fortescues obtained the manors both of Filleigh 
and of Wear Giffard by the marriage of Martin Fortescue, 
son of the Chief Justice, with the heiress of Densell, who 
represented the GifFards in the female line. Wear then 
became the chief seat of this branch of the Fortescues, 
and so continued for a considerable time. Castle Hill 
has, however, long been their residence, and in the early 
part of the last century was greatly improved and 

In the adjacent parish of West Buckland is the Devon 
County School, one of the earliest, if not the earliest, effort 
to provide good middle-class education upon modern lines 
for rural districts. 

Swymbridge, according to Risdon, is the birthplace of 
St. Hieritha, a contemporary of Thomas k Becket. 


It is in the year 909, and at Crediton, that the ecclesiastical 
history of Devon on the present order begins. Seven 
centuries before that date Christianity had reached these 
shores ; and the existence of an organized Church among 
the Kelts can be traced very nearly thus far back. The 
British Church held its own in Devon down to the Saxon 
settlement of the county under Ecgberht ; and retained 
the chief power in the further West, although in later 
years pressed hard by the Roman invaders, as the 
adherents of the elder system deemed them, until the 
approach of the tenth century. But its influence gradually 
waned, and in 909 the ecclesiastical order of Wessex was 
made complete by the consecration in one day of seven 
bishops. Of these Eadulph was one ; and he became 
the first Saxon Bishop of Devon, with a partial rule in 
Cornwall, having assigned to him the manors of Pawton, 
Calhngton, and Lawhitton, that he might thrice yearly 
visit ' the Cornish race to extirpate their errors,' The 
fact that these three places are all in the east and north 
of Cornwall probably indicates a greater Saxon influence 
in that district of the county. 

It has been shown that Crediton offered peculiar 
advantages for the establishment of the bishop's seat, 
which probably led to its selection in preference to the 

io6 History of Devonshire. 

chief town of the shire — in the facts that it was * central, 
not too large, free from secular interference ; the ton^ the 
place of the Saxon — hallowed by its associations with 
the great missionary, the earnest and devoted Wynfrid/ 
These considerations must have had their weight in the 
selection of a place of perhaps a couple of hundred in- 
habitants for this purpose (the enumerated population in 

* Domesday ' is but 407). It is further probable, however, 
that personal considerations, which it is now impossible 
to trace, had some influence in the choice. 

The original Cathedral of Crediton was dedicated to 
the Virgin, and stood on or near the site of the present 
Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross. Leland, who says 
that the dedication was to St. Gregory, states that the 
old church stood by the side of its successor ; but of this 
there is no distinct evidence. Nine bishops in succession 
ruled at Crediton, or Cridiantune, its Saxon name. Under 
the last but one, Lyfing, the Bishopric of Cornwall was 
united to that of Devon ; and under his successor, Leofric, 
the seat of the see was transferred to Exeter, one of the 
chief reasons assigned being the defenceless state of the 
little ' tun ' of the Creedy against the pirates, or Danes. 
The removal of the see was followed by what in effect 
became a removal of the minster — ^the Saxon Cathedral 
of St. Mary was replaced by the Norman Collegiate 

* Church of the Holy Cross, and of the Mother of Him 
crucified thereon,* with its eight canons and eighteen 
vicars. Herein it is recorded that on the ist of August, 
1315, one Thomas Orey, of Keynesham, who had been 
totally blind, recovered his sight after spending two days 
in prayer before the altar of St. Nicholas. Bishop Stapledon, 
being satisfied of the truth of the miracle, ordered the bells 
to be rung and a solemn thanksgiving offered, and set forth 
the event in his * Register.' The church is now in the 
hands of a corporation of governors. 

In the time of the Confessor Crediton was the most 

Credit on. 107 

valuable manor belonging to the see, with the exception 
of Bishops Tawton ; but when * Domesday ' was compiled 
it had a long way distanced all its competitors, the value 
having risen from twenty-one pounds to seventy-five. 
Originally taxed at 25 hides, it had 185 carucates. Six 
hides and 13 carucates were in demesne ; there were 
40 serfs, 264 villeins, and 73 bordars, with 172 caru- 
cates; and 30 swineherds, returning 150 swine yearly. 
There was a mill also, worth thirty pence. The woods, 
as may be judged from the number of swineherds, 
were very extensive — five miles long and half a mile 

The manor of Crediton, with a brief alienation, con- 
tinued to belong to the See of Exeter, and the bishops 
retained there a residence and park. The palace is now 
represented simply by a buttress, and the park indicated 
by the name of the * Lord's Meadow.' Under its episcopal 
lords the little town seems to have flourished; and the 
cloth trade, by which it mainly throve, is supposed to 
have been established under Bishop Grandisson. Crediton 
gained great fiame for the fineness of its work, so that * As 
fine as Kirton spinning ' passed into a proverb, and West- 
cote avers that one of the sights of London, at the shop 
of * Mr. Dunscombe, the Golden Bottle, in Watling Street,' 
was 140 threads of woollen yarn spun in Crediton, drawn 
through the eye of a tailor's needle. 

There is ample proof, indeed, that Crediton was a place 
of considerable trading note so far back as the thirteenth 
century. Among documents relating to Crediton, entered 
upon a roll in the British Museum, is a letter of procura- 
tion from the Archdeacon of Totnes in 1249, stating that 
he will be unable to attend a meeting of the Chapter of 
Crediton and take part in ' treating and contracting with 
the merchants who frequent our church,' and appointing 
his brother Archdeacons of Exeter and Cornwall his 
proctors. The suggestion is that these merchants were 

io8 History of Devonshire. 

* contractors for the wool grown upon the estates belong- 
ing to the canons of Crediton, and that at this meeting 
the prices were fixed and the contracts settled.* This 
shows the importance of Crediton as a mart of the woollen 
trade six centuries since. There were several foreigners 
living in or near the town at this time — the Peytevin 
family, who were succeeded by the Widgers, ' Lord ' Seer, 
a Knight of the Teutonic Order, one Richard Marchpain, 
and others. 

Crediton was once a borough, and sent representatives 
to Parliament temp. Edward I. The old seal is still ex- 
tant, dated in 1469 : * the selle of the borowe towne 
OF CREDYTON.' The device is a bishop in benediction, 
probably intended for Bishop Bothe, lord of the manor 
of Crediton at the date given. The association of Crediton 
with the Western Rebellion, which began at Sampford 
Courtenay, when * The barns of Crediton * became a 
rallying-cry, has been treated under Exeter. 

The earliest worthy of Crediton is also the earliest 
Devonian known to us by name — Wynfrid, St. Boniface, 
the Apostle of Germany. Born of Saxon parents at 
Crediton in 680, converted to the Roman form of Chris- 
tianity — probably by travelling monks — first trained in a 
Saxon school at Exeter, and then at Nutschelle in Hamp- 
shire, he devoted all his working life to the conversion of 
Germany, and its reduction under the Roman rule. 
Eventually he became Archbishop of Mentz, and the 
spiritual head of the whole German kingdom, and was 
martyred in old age (75), when attempting to convert the 
still heathen portion of Friesland. No one of his day did 
more to spread Christianity among the heathen, or to 
destroy the influence of the elder British Church. 

Crediton was occasionally occupied by both parties 
during the last Civil War, but saw no fighting. It was 
the headquarters of Prince Maurice for a time, in 1644 ; 
and in July of that year Charles was at Crediton, and 

Crediton, 1 09 

reviewed his troops. Fairfax made it his headquarters 
more than once early in 1646. 

The town had its ' great fire ' in 1743, when 460 houses 
were burnt ; and there was another serious one in 1769. 

Several of the estates in and about Crediton are or 
have been connected with ancient families of the county, 
Downes, which once belonged to the Goulds, is now the 
property of the BuUers ; Creedy of the Davies. Yewe, in 
the tithing of Yewton, is said to have been formerly held 
under the bishops by the barons of Okehampton, by the 
service of being stewards at their installation, for which 
they had all the vessels in which the bishop was served at 
the first course. This right was, however, claimed at the 
installation of Bishop Stapledon by Hugh Courtenay, as 
lord of the manor of Slapton, his fee being four silver 
dishes, two salts, one cup, one wine-pot, one spoon, and 
two basins. Higher Dunscombe was the seat of the 

Shobrooke, now in the Shelleys, was long in the Erce- 
deknes, whose heiress brought it to Carew. Little 
Fulford was the seat of the Peryams, established there by 
Sir William Peryam, Lord Chief Baron. Raddon, in the 
same parish — ^which, after giving name to the family 
of Raddon, was in the Martyns and Audleys — in the reign 
of Henry VHL was partially acquired by the Westcotes. 
Here, in 1567, was born Thomas Westcote, the anti- 
quary, and author of the * View of Devonshire in 1630.' 
Of the parishes of Stockleigh, distinguished by the affixes 
Pomeroy and English, the names of their ancient owners, it 
has been mistakenly held that the latter title indicates a 
descent in Saxon hands. This idea, however, ' Domes- 
day ' at once dispels. At Upcotts, in Poughill, was the 
scene of the murder of the Yorkist Radford by the Lan- 
castrian Thomas Courtenay, already noted. 

Newton St. Gyres was part of the ancient endowment of 

no History of Devonshire. 

the original cathedral, the Church of the Holy Cross at 
Crediton, which held it before the reign of the Confessor ; 
and it passed, with Crediton, to the See of Exeter. In 
later days it came to Plympton Priory ; and, after the 
Dissolution, the manor was divided, for several genera- 
tions, between the Quickes and Northcotes, the former 
acquiring the whole in 1762. Hayne is the old Northcote 

At the meeting-point of the three parishes of Crediton, 
Colebrook, and Down St. Mary, stands a massive granite 
shaft, known as Coplestone Cross, The head, if it ever 
had any, has long been lost ; but the shaft is perfect — 
ten feet six inches in height, and one foot six and a half 
inches in breadth at the top. It is four-square, and each 
side is covered with carving, the special feature of which 
is that twisted and interlaced ornament, generally held to 
be of Keltic origin, comparatively common in the North of 
England, but which occurs nowhere else in Devon, and is 
but rarely met with in Cornwall. Each side of the cross 
contains three panels, no two exactly alike ; while on one 
face figures are introduced. There is no doubt that this 
monument dates at least from the earlier period of Saxon 
Christianity, when it was customary for the lords of land 
where there were no churches, to erect crosses of wood or 
of stone, to which outlying ceorls or serfs might repair to 
offer their prayers. It may be as old as the Crediton 
bishopric (909), and possibly is older. But it is not much, 
if at all, later, for it finds mention in a Saxon charter of 
974, by which Eadgar grants three hides of land at Nymed 
to his faithful iElfhere. The boundaries of these three 
hides begin and end at Copelanstan, and they agree with 
the present estate of Coplestone, which is about 160 
acres in extent. 

From the Copelanstan these three hides afterwards took 
name, and they were granted, as an endorsement on the ori- 

Crediion. 1 1 1 

ginal charter certifies, by the venerable priest Brihtric to the 
minster of Crediton, some time before the Norman Con- 
quest. At an unknown but very early period, however, 
the estate passed into the hands of one of the oldest of 
Devonshire families, who thence took name, and who 
proudly held themselves to be descended from an English 
ancestor who kept his lands through the Conquest, the 
ancient rhyme running : 

* Crocker, Cruwys, and Coplestone, 
When the Conqueror came were found at home.' 

These families fill a prominent place in Devonian his- 
tory ; but neither can be linked on to any of the English 
thegns who retained their estates. The Coplestones 
held chief place of the three, and were called the * Great 
Coplestones,' and * Coplestones of the White Spur,' 
having, according to Westcote, the special grant of a 
silver collar, or chain of SS., and of silver spurs. Cople- 
stone, however, is no longer theirs ; though the Coplestone 
aisle remains in Colebrook church. 

The Crockers have long ceased out of Lyneham, their 
ancient seat near Yealmpton, but the Cruwys remain 
connected, through the female line, with their old estates 
in Cruwys Morchard, which they have certainly held since 
the reign of King John. 

The origin of the name Copelanstan is doubtful ; but 
very likely it is the * headland ' or * the chief stone.* 



Cbulmleigh, an ancient market -town, once enjoying the 
reputation of a borough, was a member of the barony of 
Okehampton, and long held by the Courtenays, who had 
a castle here, of which no trace remains. Garland is 
supposed by Prince to have been the birthplace of John 
de Garland, a poet of the eleventh century, and it con- 
tinued in the Garlands until the close of the seventeenth 
century, Chulmleigh Church was once collegiate, with 
seven prebends, originally distinct from the rectoiy. 
The manner io which Westcote accounts for this is an 
amusing version of an old myth which has many forms, 
and which is most familiar in its assignment to the 
Gaelphs. A poor man of Chulmleigh was troubled at 
the rapid increase of his family, and went on his travels 
for seven years. A year after his return, however, his 
wife was ' delivered of seven male children at one byrth, 
whiche made the poore man think himself utterly undone ; 
and, thereby despairing, put them into a baskett, and 
hasteth to the river with intent to drowne.' • The lady 
of the land,' however, happening to come that way, 
demanded ' what he carryed in his baskett, who replied 
that he had whelpes, which she desired to see, proposing 
to choose one of them.' Finding, however, that they 
were children, she insisted on an explanation ; and, that 

Chulmleigh. 113 

given, sharply rebuked him for his inhumanity, had the 
children put to nurse, then to school, * and consequently 
being come to man's estate, provided a prebendship for 
every of them in this parishe.* 

There was a little fighting at Chulmleigh in the Civil 
Wars, Colonel Okey defeating a party of Cavaliers in 
December, 1645 5 ^^^ on the February following, Fairfax 
rendezvoused at Ashreigny hard by. 

Eggesford, also a possession of the family of Reigny, 
like the parish last named, passed by female heirs to the 
Coplestones and Chichesters; and Lord Chichester re- 
built the manor-house in the reign of James I. This was 
one of the mansions garrisoned for the King in the 
subsequent reign, but it was captured by Colonel Okey 
in December, 1645. From the Chichesters the manor 
came to the St. Legers ; and of them it was bought early 
in the last century by Mr. Fellowes, ancestor of the 
present owner, the Earl of Portsmouth. The house, 
which has been rebuilt and enlarged at various times, is 
now the principal residence of the family ; and one of 
the most important hunting centres in Devon. 

The large and important manor of Umberleigh, ex- 
tending over the parishes of Atherington and High 
Bickington, has been held by some notable families — 
chief the Willingtons (to whom it came from the 
Champernownes) and the Bassets, its owners from the 
sixteenth century. A mutilated figure in Atherington 
Church, brought from the Chapel of the Holy Trinity at 
Umberleigh when it was pulled down in 1800, is supposed 
to represent the last Champernowne seated here, temp. 
Henry HI. The screen-work in this church is very fine ; 
and the church of the adjoining parish of Chittlehampton 
has the reputation of possessing the finest tower in 
Devon, which looks, indeed, as if it had been transplanted 
from Somerset. St. Hieritha, said to have been born at 
Swymbridge, is also said to have been buried here. More 


114 History of Devonshire. 

certain is it that the church contains fourteenth-century 
brasses to the Cobleigh family. They succeeded by 
manriage a younger branch of the Fitzwarrens, who had 
taken the name of Brightley from their estate ; and this 
was brought by the heiress of the Cobleighs to a younger 
branch of the Giffards of Halsbury, who held it for 
several descents. Hence the title of Lord Halsbury, 
taken by Sir Hardinge Giffard on his recent elevation to 
the Lord Chancellorship. Umberleigh in ' Domesday ' is 
entered as the * manor of the Church of the Holy Trinity 
at Caen/ whence, of course, the dedication of the chapel. 
An interesting group of parishes, etymologically and 
thence historically, lies to the south of Chulmleigh, Nymet 
Tracy, commonly called Bow, after a decayed town of 
that name, which once had a market, granted to Henry 
Tracy in 1258, and which was the scene of a skirmish 
between Sir Hardress Waller and some Royalist troops, 
wherein the former was successful ; Nymet Rowland ; 
and Broad Nymet, which, in spite of its name, is the 
pettiest of the three, the smallest rural parish in Devon. 
With these are to be associated George, Kings, and 
Bishops Nympton, occasionally called Nymet also, 
grouped but a few miles distant to the south and west of 
South Molton. *Newtake* is an expression used on 
Dartmoor for an enclosure from the waste ; and, as Mr. 
R. J. King has shown, these * Nymets ' are precisely the 
same in meaning and in fact, nymet being the participle of 
the verb nyman, to take. They mark, therefore, the sites 
of ancient enclosures, or appropriations, long before the 
Norman Conquest. 



North Devon is so thickly seamed with a network of 
ancient roads, still in use or long abandoned, as to show 
that it had in pre-Norman times, to distinguish no 
further, a fairly large population, dotted in numerous 
settlements. These ancient trackways are, as a rule, 
circuitous, and have been deeply worn by the traffic of 
ages — such being the main characteristics of the proverbial 
Devonshire lanes. A century since, they were described 
as ' rough and rocky ; watery and miry in some places, 
deep and founderous in others ; the hills precipitous, and 
the lanes everywhere narrow, with the hedges on each 
side too high to afford the traveller any prospect.' Better 
kept now than then, they still retain their leading 
features ; and these very hedge-banks, ranging even to 
30 feet in height, which in the old days had some value 
in screening the traveller from the sun in summer, and 
sheltering him from the driving storm in winter, grow 
more beautiful year by year in their floral carpeting. 

Mr. J. R. Chanter has further pointed out that ' near 
Bratton, and at several other points north and east of 
Barnstaple, especially in the mining districts of North 
Molton and Combe Martin, and the ports and creeks of 
the Severn ~Sea, the pedestrian may still trace many 
deeply sunken lanes — mere clefts, which it is impossible 

ii6 History of Devonshire. 

to imagine can have been formed otherwise than by long- 
continued attrition of the feet of men and cattle for ages ; 
and yet now they are never used nor traversed, and form 
concealed nooks thickly covered with vegetation, and' 
ferns, particularly the scolopodendria, growing in the 
utmost luxuriance ; and others which, though still in use, 
bear unmistakable marks of extreme antiquity.' 

These roads were traversed by a purely local breed of 
horses called pack-horses, which carried their burdens in 
panniers, or on rough saddles known as * crocks.' They 
were a very useful handy race, unfortunately now lost, 
though occasionally a strain makes its appearance here 
and there. Tradition ascribed them to a cross of the 
native pony of Dartmoor and Exmoor with a horse that 
escaped from the wreck of a vessel of the Armada. The 
story is more than doubtful, but the race had a dash of 
the thoroughbred. There are yet living those who 
recollect when it was a common thing to meet long strings 
of pack-horses, the best of the lot proudly leading the way. 

Now since Barnstaple, alia^ Barum, the capital of 
North Devon, lies at the very heart of the densest net- 
work of these ancient roads, its high antiquity is clear, 
though there are no authoritative records of its origin^ 
The suggestion that it may be the lost Artavia of Richard 
of Cirencester might have more weight if the authenticity 
of his so-called * Itinerary ' could be proved ; though even 
then Hartland puts in a claim on the score of similarity 
of name, and Clovelly Dikes as presenting the most 
important relics of an ancient town in the district. Mr. 
Chanter has ingeniously shown that Artavia is near ikin 
to Aber-Taw, which would be very good Welsh for the 
site of Barnstaple ; and there can be little doubt it is the 
Vertevia of the Ravennat. 

The borough appears to have grown up around a 
military settlements This tradition, with somewhat more 
than its usual uncertainty, attributes to the Danes. It 

Barnstaple. \\^ 

must once have had considerable strength. The ancient 
town stood in a rude triangle, bounded on two sides by 
the Taw and by its tributary the Yeo. Near the apex 
was the castle; landward the town was defended by a 
strong wall, the course of which is defined by the present 
Boutport Street ( = * About-port' street, port being used 
in its old sense of town). Of this wall there are no 
vestiges ; the gates one after another have disappeared ; 
and of the castle there only remains the mound. ^tJelstan, 
the traditional founder of the castle, did probably translate 
it from earthen rampart into mural fortress, and at the 
same time restore and extend the cincture. Be that as it 
may, * Domesday ' describes Barnstaple as one of the four 
boroughs of Devon, having forty burgesses within the 
walls and nine without, and eleven that belonged to the 
Bishop of Coutances. It was then held by the King, but 
became the seat of a barony, sometime in the Tracys, 
Martyns, Audleys, and Hollands, among others. 

Its first Norman lord was Judhel of Totnes, who 
founded a Cluniac Priory, dedicated to St. Mary Mag- 
dalene, valued at the Dissolution at £12^ 15s. 8d. One of 
the most curious antiquarian discoveries of recent years 
in Devon has been the finding of the remains of the 
twelfth-century chapel of this Priory in the main walls of 
a couple of ancient but much modernized dwellings, so 
perfect as to enable its plan, which is somewhat peculiar 
— on the basilica t3^e — to be distinctly traced. The 
Priory lands were granted to Lord Howard of Effingham, 
and part was eventually purchased by the RoUes, whose 
present representative, the Hon. Mark RoUe, is Lord High 
Steward of the borough. A chapel dedicated to Thomas 
d Becket, which stood at the end of the bridge, is said to 
have been founded in expiation during the Tracy rule by 
William de Tracy, who took part in that prelate's murder. 
Like most of the Tracy traditions, this is doubtful. 

The bridge, by the way, is historical. It is some six or 

1 1 8 History of Devonshire. 

seven centuries old, but nothing is known with certainty 
as to its founder. In the thirty-sixth year of Henry VIIL 
the *maior and .maisters' sent out a begging letter to 
obtain money to improve the structure and its causeways, 
setting forth that the Taw was a * great hugy, mighty, 
perylous, and dreadfuU water, whereas salte water doth 
ebbe and flowe foure tymes in the day and the night,' and 
offering * a gentle dirge and masse solemly songe ' to all 
benefactors. It is amusing to contrast this description 
with the actual river. Perhaps the stream has learnt 
manners since an embankment was thrown up on the 
western shore . by one of the Sir Bourchier Wreys of 
Tawstock, towards the close of the last century. Being 
the colonel of an infantry regiment stationed at Barnstaple, 
he employed the men in raising these earthworks and 
improving his foreshores. , The Corporation didn't like it, 
and complained to headquarters. The authorities wrote, 
asking wh^t was meant ; Sir Bourchier replied that he was 
teaching his men * practical engineering.' And there the 
matter dropped, possibly because the gallant colonel was 
a member of Parliament as well as an officer. Barnstaple 
Bridge is in the hands of a body of trustees, who hold 
considerable property. Their antiquity is fairly indicated 
by their seal, which is of fourteenth-century character and 
nearly three inches in diameter. It shows the bridge, the 
Chapel of St. Thomas, and a Calvary Cross, and between 
the latter an eagle displayed. The inscription sets forth 
that this is the seal of the * long bridge ' of Barnstaple. 

The corporate and representative history of Barnstaple 
IS of almost unique interest, in the controversies to which, 
it has given rise. The Corporation proper dates from 
Philip and Mary, but the town had sustained its pre- 
scriptive right to a mayor two centuries before. The 
earliest charter extant is by Henry II. confirming a pre- 
decessor from Henry I. The latter has disappeared, but 
in certain proceedings taken in the time of the third 

Barnstaple. 119 

Edward, the burgesses asserted that they had a charter 
from iEt5elstan which had been lost, and which not only 
gave them a right to choose a mayor, but to send repre- 
sentatives to the Witenagemot. It may seem strange 
now that either statement should ever have been seriously 
treated. Reeves Barnstaple no doubt did have before the 
Conquest, but certainly not mayors, and probably few will 
be found now to endorse Lord Lyttelton's opinion that 
Barnstaple was a representative borough of pre-Norman 
times, or even share in Turner's more cautious reference 
to the claim, as being entitled to considerable weight in 
determining the question of the representation of cities 
and burghs in the Witenagemot. It is a fact, however, 
that 500 years ago Barnstaple did claim -^tSelstan as the 
author of its representative rights; and the borough 
returned members without intermission from twenty-third 
Edward I. to fatal 1885. 

Notable traces of an early guild at Barnstaple have 
been discovered among the municipal records by Mr. 
J. R. Chanter. They consist of three rolls setting forth 
the names of the officers and members respectively in 
1303, 1318, and 1329, and a few ancient deeds and frag- 
ments of accounts. The guild wa^ that of St. Nicholas, 
but it is also spoken of as * the Guild of the Liberty of the 
Borough of Barnstaple ;' and its customs are declared to 
have been used and observed beyond memory of man. 
Moreover, its connection with the government of the town 
was most intimate, and the mayor was evidently its chief. 
At the same time it was not the corporate authority, for 
its members were scattered over the county ; and after it 
was dissolved in 1549, ^^ municipality acquired ' the site 
of the late Chapel of St. Nicholas, now a building called 
the Kay Hall,' by purchase. The Kay Hall, destroyed in' 
1852, was for centuries the * common market,' and was in 
part of Norman architecture. The data are so few that it 
is difficult to decide what the precise object of this guild 

I20 History of Devonshire. 

might be. The lists are not those of freemen, but of a 
distinct community. There seems also good evidence that 
it was not a mere trading guild, certainly not such a guild 
of sailors or seafaring men as the name might indicate ; 
and it is clear also that it was not purely religious. More- 
over, Mr. Chanter concludes (though the mayor exercised 
some authority) that comparatively few of the townsmen 
were members. This is shown both by the occurrence of 
the names of many who are specified as resident else- 
where, and by a comparison of the roll of the guildry 
with legal and other proceedings of the same period in 
the borough courts. The guild, indeed, chiefly consisted 
of the petty gentry, yeomen, and agriculturists of the 
neighbourhood, with a sprinkling of persons of higher 
rank, and from a distance. 

The Priory of St. Mary at Pilton was reputedly founded 
by ^tJelstan ; and the ancient seal of the brotherhood bears 
testimony to the fact that no less an origin was claimed 
five centuries since. Actual records do not go beyond 
1200. The seal bears on the obverse the figure of the 
Virgin Mary, to whom the Priory was dedicated ; and on 
the reverse that of a king, evidently intended for ^ESelstan, 
for the legend runs : * hoc . athelstanus . ago . quod . 
PRESENS . siGNA . IMAGO.' It was a Benedictine house of 
small size, a cell to the great Abbey of Malmesbury, to 
which it gave a couple of abbots. It had an uneventful 
career, and at the Dissolution contained only three 
monks beside the prior, while its revenues amounted to 
but 3^56 I2S. 8d. 

Pilton, really an ancient suburb of Barnstaple, was, 
like it, largely engaged in textile manufactures, and had a- 

* shoddy ' reputation in consequence of its make of coarse 

* cottons * for linings. * Woe unto ye Piltonians,' quotes 
Westcote, * who make cloth without wool !' 

Barnstaple bore its part in the maritime activity of the 
Elizabethan days, and contributed, as we shall see here- 

Barnstaple, 121 

after under Bideford, to the fleet fitted out against the 
Armada. Like nearly all the towns of Devon, it had 
strong Parliamentary sympathies, and a contingent thence 
took part in the defeat of Hopton at Modbury. It was, 
however, taken by Maurice in September, 1643. In the 
following July the townsfolk overpowered the garrison ; 
and, with the aid of a contingent sent by the Earl of 
Essex, repulsed a party of Royalists despatched by Maurice 
to turn the scale. But the Roundheads did not hold it 
Ipng, for in September, 1644, it had to yield to Goring, 
and then remained a Royal garrison until the close of the 
war, when Fairfax took it in April, 1646. There are still 
extant, specially at Fort Hill, a few lines of the defence 
and works of attack ; and Puritan cannonading is zaii to 
have partially destroyed Pilton Tower. 

Barnstaple was one of the western towns in which 
Huguenot refugees settled after the revocation of the 
Edict of Nantes. Quite dramatic is the account of their 
arrival and reception. The party left Rochelle in a small 
crowded vessel, and had a very tempestuous passage. At 
length they found themselves in Barnstaple Bay one 
Sunday morning, sailed over the bar and up the river, and 
landed on the quay during divine service. Utterly desti- 
tute, they ranged themselves in the market-place, and 
thither flocked the townsfolk when they left the churches. 
( Happily, neither the good Samaritan nor his spirit was 

wanting. An old gentleman, whose name unfortunately 
is not preserved, took a couple of the refugees home to 
dinner, and recommended his example to his fellow- 
townsmen. In a few minutes the Huguenots were dis- 
tributed throughout the town, their immediate wants 
supplied, and the foundation laid of a new period of com- 
mercial prosperity for the hospitable borough. Intelligent 
and industrious, and specially skilled in the woollen trade, 
these poor French folk proved well able to repay their 
benefactors. The Corporation gave them the Chapel of 

122 History of Devonshire. 

St. Anne as a place of worship ; and there French services- 
continued to be performed until 1761, when the immigrants 
had become absorbed in the general population. Their 
descendants can still, however, be traced here, as at 
Exeter and Plymouth and Stonehouse, in the last of which 
towns a French congregation continued to meet until the 
present century. 

This Chapel of St. Anne has for more than three cen« 
tiiries been used as a grammar school, the original foun* 
dation being presumably connected with the Guild of St. 
Nicholas. Barnstaple school has a long list of illustrious 
alumni. Bishop Jewell and his rival Harding ; Jonathan' 
Hamner, one of the most famous of the ejected divines of 
Devon ; John Gay, the poet ; Brancker, the Rosicrucian ; 
Judge Doddridge ; and the learned Dr. Musgrave — among 
the number. 

Barnstaple is the seat of an important art pottery. 
Excellent pottery of what is commonly regarded as Roman 
type was made in Devon so far back as the Roman period ; 
and some of the best clays of the county were then known 
and worked. Mr. Phillips, of AUer, believes that much 
that is commonly called Durobrivian ware is really of 
Devonshire manufacture ; and that some of the so-called 
Samian found in the district, made on the wheel, is un- 
questionably of Devonshire make and clay. In the Middle 
Ages large quantities of encaustic tiles were made in various 
localities. The chief production appears to have been 
in the Barnstaple and Bideford districts, where potteries 
have been carried on, historically, from time immemorial. 
A mode of sgraffito ornamentation long since originated 
in North Devon, dated specimens existing over a century 
and a half old ; and this has been developed recently with 
great effect. The decoration consists of * washes of white 
clay, with incised patterns, and coloured glazes of flowing 
and pulsating lines.' The occurrence of beds of culm or 
anthracite in the Carboniferous rocks of the district may. 

Barnstaple. 123 

by the provision of fuel, have stimulated the utilization of 
the clay. 

Until the assertion was questioned by the late Dr. 
Oliver, Bishops Tawton, next Barnstaple, was commonly 
accepted as having been the primary seat of the See of 
Devonshire. It is now abundantly clear that Dr. Oliver 
was justified in his scepticism, for later research has 
shown that the belief rested entirely upon a statement 
made by Hoker, of Exeter, in his catalogue and memoirs 
of the Bishops of Devon down to 1583. Therein he states 
that *Werstanus was the first who fixed the episcopal 
chair at Bishops Tawton,' in the year 905. No earlier 
writer than Hoker assigns a bishop to Bishops Tawton; 
such later writers as do, all follow Hoker ; and, while no 
evidence confirmatory of this statement has an3^where 
been found, the difficulties in the way of its acceptance 
seem upon critical examination to be insuperable. There 
is, however, no reason to doubt, to quote the words of 
Dr. Oliver, that *the manor of Bishops Tawton, with its 
members, Landkey and Swymbridge, formed a part of the 
original endowment of the see,' and was then regarded as 
its most profitable estate. * Here the bishops occasionally 
resided, as they did at Clyst, in Farringdon parish ; at 
Radway, in Bishops Teignton ; at Place, in Chudleigh ; 
and Paignton.' Some small remains of the ancient palace 
still continue. 

The ancient manor was long since divided, though the 
bishops retained their residence down to the fifteenth 
century. The first important severance took place in 
1225, when the church and rectory, with Landkey and 
Swymbridge, and the ecclesiastical manor, were appro- 
priated as an endowment to the deanery by Bishop 
Brewer. The principal part of the manor was, however, 
conveyed by Bishop Veysey to the Russell family. By 
ancient practice the rectory was always granted to laymen, 
on freehold leases for three lives, the rector, as lord farmer, • 

124 History of Devonshire, 

receiving all the tithes, exercising all the manorial rights, 
and granting leases on lives by copy of court roll. 
Originally, the lord farmer also appointed the incum- 
bents of the three parishes. 

A hamlet on the verge of Bishops Tawton, now a part 
of the borough of Barnstaple, was anciently the indepen- 
dent borough of Newport. The date of its foundation is 
uncertain, but the name shows it to be of later origin than 
the old * port ' of Barnstaple ; and it may have been fos- 
tered by the bishops, and grown up under their protection. 
That it came to be called Newport Episcopi is but the 
natural result of the connection with Bishops Tawton 
parish. A market and fair were granted in 1294, and, 
either then or not long subsequently it had a corporate 
existence, for it is distinctly named the borough of 
Newport in 1307, and the names of mayors are 
recorded nearly as far back. Mayors were elected, 
indeed, but rather in form than fact, until the last 

The distinguished natives of Barnstaple have been 
claimed to include Lord Chancellor Fortescue, author of 
* De Laudibus Legum Angliae,' who was, however, born, 
as already stated, in North Huish ; Lord Audley (d. 1386), 
the foremost hero of Poictiers, who was certainly the 
owner of the barony in right of his mother, coheiress 
of the Martyns, and resided at the castle ; Sir John 
Doddridge, Judge of the King's Bench under James I. ; 
and John Gay, the fabulist. There is some doubt even 
as to Doddridge, who has been credited to South Molton. 
But Barnstaple was certainly his home; and when he 
died in 1628 at the age of seventy-three, his nephew suc- 
ceeded to his property, and lived in the old town. Gay 
(1688-1732) has been attributed to the adjoining parish 
of Landkey ; but there is no doubt that his parents were 
Barnstaple folk, and very little that he was born at their 
residence in Joy Street. An old armchair, sold many 

Barnstaple. 125 

years since in Barnstaple, was found to contain a drawer 
with a number of unpublished poems by him. 

Ralegh, Bishop of Winchester, 1244, was born at 
Ralegh, in the parish of Pilton, the original seat of this 
famous family. From the Raleghs it eventually passed 
to the Chichesters, another notable Devonshire house, of 
South Devon origin, but now chiefly settled in the North, 
at Arlington, Hall, and Youlston. A Chichester was 
Bishop of Exeter in 1128; but the most distinguished of 
the race was Arthur Chichester (d. 1620), born at Ralegh, 
knighted by Henri Quatre for his * notable exploits' in 
arms, and created by James I., whom he served as Lord 
Deputy of Ireland, Baron Belfast. 

Akland, in Landkey, near Barnstaple, is the first seat 
of the Acland family, and has been held by them from 
the twelfth century. Westcote gives a bad name to the 
ladies of a village nigh, called Newlands, who, if annoyed 
by the repetition of the phrase, * Camp le tout, Newland,* 
would treat their aspersors so unsavourily, that * he that 
travels that way a fortnight afterwards may smell what 
has been there done.' 

Tawstock used, in the common talk of the country- 
side, to be regarded as having the finest manor, the 
richest rectory, and the most stately residence — at any 
rate in North Devon. If there is likelihood in the theory 
that the * stocks ' in a debatable land preceded the * tuns,' 
then Tawstock may represent, as distinct from the Keltic 
town of Barnstaple, the first Saxon settlement of the 
Taw. However, we cannot trace it further than * Domes- 
day,' where it appears as one of the manors held by the 
King in succession to * Harold the Earl,' and a place of 
note, having 18 serfs, 60 villeins, and 7 swineherds, with 
5 houses in Exeter, and being worth £24 a year. William 
Lord Briwere held it in the reign of Henry 11. , and gave 
it to his daughter on her marriage with Robert, Earl of 

126 History of Devonshire. 

Leicester. She, having no children, gave it to her niece 
Matilda, wife of Henry de Tracy. Thence it went in 
succession to the noble families of Martyn, Audley, and 
Fitzwarren, and through the Hankfords to the Bourchiers, 
Earls of Bath, now represented in the female line by its 
present possessors, the Bourchier Wreys. The fine old 
mansion of the Bourchiers, nearly all burnt in 1787, had 
been garrisoned during the Civil Wars. The park remains 
one of the oldest and finest in the county. The church 
has several monuments of the Bourchiers ; and an oaken 
effigy, presumably a memorial of Thomasin, daughter of 
Sir W. Hankford, is of an unusual character. 

Adjoining Tawstock is the ancient borough of Freming- 
ton, which sent burgesses to Parliament under Edward III., 
but has little other claim to notice. Like Tawstock, it 
had belonged to Harold, but was given by William to the 
Bishop of Coutances, who likewise had 7 houses and lands 
and 10 burgesses in Barnstaple itself. The population 
of Fremington was even greater than that of Tawstock 
— 7 serfs, 40 villeins, 30 bordars, 13 swineherds, and 
I burgess in Barnstaple — but it was worth £2 less. This 
also was one of the manors that came to the Tracys, 
and, forming part of the barony of Barnstaple, passed 
through the Martyns to the Audleys. Coming to the 
Crown, it was granted by Richard IL to John Holland^ 
Earl of Huntingdon, and was likewise one of the western 
manors granted to Margaret, Countess of Richmond. 

Across the Taw lies Brauntion, presumably derived 
from Brannock's * tun,' Brannock being the patron saint ; 
and the legend of the foundation of the church averring 
that he was directed to build it where he next saw a sow 
and her litter, in witness whereof sow and farrows are to 
be seen duly carven on a boss. Legend further affirms 
that he obtained the timber from a forest which then 
grew upon the site of the sandy waste fringing the Taw, 

Barnstaple. 127 

now known as Braunton Burrows, and drew it to the 
spot by deer. And it would be a remarkable coincidence 
— if the remains had not suggested the tradition — that 
a submerged forest does exist in Barnstaple Bay near the 
point indicated, and that cervine bones and antlers have 
been found therein. On the cliffs at Croyde, hard by, 
flint chips are so numerous as to indicate the existence 
there of a prehistoric implement-manufactory. Braunton 
also figures in ' Domesday ' as a populous manor in the 
demesne of the King ; and, indeed, the character of the 
entries generally for this locality indicate a more thriving 
condition than that of the county as a whole. By a grant 
of Coeur de Lion, Braunton became the original Devon- 
shire seat of the Carews, but was taken from them by 
John in favour of Robert de Seckville; while Henry III. 
gave two-thirds of the manor, with the lordship of the 
hundred, to the Abbey of Cleve, in Somerset. At the 
Dissolution, it was granted to the Earl of Westmoreland ; 
and it was part of the property brought to the Courtenays 
by the marriage of Sir William Courtenay to the daughter 
of Sir William Waller and the heiress of the Reynells. 
The custom of the manor is noted by the Lysonses, 
following Chappie, as peculiar — Some of the lands being 
held by the tenure of Borough English; while others 
passed to the elder son, and all were equally divided 
between daughters. 

Heanton Punchardon preserves the name of a dis- 
tinguished family, of whom the most prominent member. 
Sir Richard, served with great note in France under 
Edward III. Through Beaumonts the manor came to 
the Bassets ; and Colonel Arthur Basset, born at Heanton 
Court in 1597, was one of the leading Royalists of 
Devon, and Governor of St. Michael's Mount when it 
surrendered to Colonel Hammond in i646. 



Ilfracombe, a little port of great antiquity, has developed, 
within the last quarter of a century, into a watering-place 
so thriving that it seems to have no history and to be all 
but bran-new. But the town is old enough to have some 
dozen names, varying from ^Ifringcombe, through Ilford- 
combe, to the modem title ; and to have been a harbour 
of some repute in the twelfth century, for the Welsh and 
the Irish traffic. In 1344 it was important enough to be 
cited to send representatives to a Shipping Council, while 
to the siege of Calais it contributed six ships to Liverpool's 
one ! Perhaps the best evidence of its standing in the 
early Middle Ages is the quaint little chapel of St. Nicholas 
on the peaked hill overlooking the quays, still, as it pro- 
bably always has been, the harbour lighthouse. There 
are many of these little half-sacred, half-secular cliff light- 
chapels along the southern and western coasts; but, so &r 
as Devon is concerned, this alone retains its ancient uses. 
Moreover, it was a place of pilgrimage in the fifteenth. 
century; and, though now sadly modernized, still has. 
features of interest. 

" Like eveiy western port, Ilfracombe was the scene of 
great activity during the Elizabethan era ; and, though it 
does not occupy a prominent place in the annals of that 
time, evidently profited by the operations against the 

Ilfracombe. 129 

Spaniards; and seems, by a few casual references, to 
have kept up a regular traffic with the southern coast of 
Ireland. Whenever war was onward Ilfracombe was 
ready to do her share of privateering, or, to use the term 
most in local favour, to engage in * reprisals,' 

The town was of little consequence in the Civil Wars of 
the Commonwealth ; though, like most of the Devonshire 
centres, it had Puritan sympathies. It was captured by 
Sir F. Doddington for the King in September, 1644, ^'^^ 
held by the Royalists until it fell into the hands of Fairfax, 
soon after his capture of Barnstaple, in 1646. The isolated 
position of Ilfracombe caused it to be selected as a refuge 
by some of those who took part in the Penruddock rising in 
1655. They were, however, taken; and history repeated itself 
when in 1688 a party of refugees from Sedgmoor, headed by 
Colonel Wade, seized and victualled a vessel at Ilfracombe 
and put to sea, but were forced ashore by a couple of frigates. 

The most curious incident in the later history of Ilfra- 
combe is the fact that it was the intended scene of a 
French invasion in r797. On the 20th of February in 
that year four French vessels came to an anchor to the 
west of the port, and scuttled a few coasting craft. But 
they made no attempt to land, for the North Devon 
Volunteers manned the heights ; and the Frenchmen set 
sail for Wales. Here they disembarked 1,400 soldiers, 
but surrendered without firing a shot to the militia under 
Lord Cawdor, who is said to have dressed his miners in 
their wives' red petticoats and frightened the invaders by 
the demonstration of superior force. Be that as it may, 
there is hardly a seaport in Devon which has not some 
tradition of invaders being scared by a muster of old 
women in red cloaks. 

The Champemownes were once lords of a part of 
Ilfracombe (held by Baldwin the Sheriff in 1086), and 
obtained a grant of a market and fair in 1278; and among 
their successors were the Bonviles, Nevilles, Greys, and 


130 History of Devonshire. 

Gorges. Sir Philip Sydney, too, was one of its owners. 
This manor is now dismembered. Another, of which the 
harbour forms part, was a member of the barony of 
Barnstaple, passed from the Audleys to the Bourchiers, 
and has thence descended to the present owner. Sir H. 
Bourchier Wrey. By the Bourchiers and the Wreys the 
harbour-works have been several times improved and 
extended. The shipping trade of Ilfracombe is now, 
however, little more than local; and the modern im- 
portance of the town rests entirely upon its attractions as 
a watering-place, which have been developed with equal 
good taste and spirit. The healthiness of the site has, 
indeed, passed into a proverb : * You may live in 'Combe 
as long as you like, but you must go somewhere else to 
die !' But there is a parish churchyard for all that. 

Considering the antiquity of Ilfracombe, its personal 
relations are singularly scant. Its one notable is John 
Cutcliffe, whose name was Latinized into Johannes de 
Rupecissa, a reforming friar of the fourteenth century. 
He was born at Damage Farm in 1340, and died in 
prison at Avignon, where he had been cast for his opinions. 
He was a man of great earnestness and learning, but the 
influence of his labours and writings, as a contemporary 
of Wyclif, were chiefly confined to the Continent. 

A far better known divine, John Jewel (1522-1571), the 
famous Bishop of Salisbury, was born at Bowden Farm 
in the adjoining parish of Berry Narbor, in an old house 
among the hills still standing. His * Sermons,* in black- 
letter, may yet be seen chained up as of yore in some 
of the churches of the West. His stoutest opponent, 
Thomas Harding (died 1572), was born in the next 
parish of Combe Martin, and was Jewel's schoolfellow at 
Barnstaple Grammar School. 

Sir William Herle, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, 
1316, certainly lived at Chambercombe, near Ilfracombe, 
but his birth there is doubtful. 

Combe Martin. 131 

Of Berry Narbor there is little more to say. Originally 
named after some old earthwork, ' burh ' or ' bury,' it 
gave name in its turn to the family of Berry, jfrom whom 
it passed to the Narberts or Narbors. Monuments of 
both families are in the old church ; and hard by, fallen 
sadly from its high estate, is the old manor-house. Stow- 
ford in West Downe, and not Stowford in Berry, is the 
seat of the Stowfords of whom came Sir John de Stowford, 
Justice of the Common Pleas in 1343. 

Combe Martin has a more formidable history. * Mile- 
long man stye,' as Kingsley called it, some antiquaries 
have seen in the little harbour wherewith the long Combe 
Valley terminates, a haunt of the Phoenician galleys. 
This is the purest speculation ; but it must have been of 
some little note when it took its distinctive surname from 
the Martins of Tours, its Norman lords, to one of whom, 
Nicholas Fitz Martin, market and fair were granted in 
1264; and its first importance seems to have been derived, 
not from its facilities for commerce, but its mineral 

There is a vague tradition, for which Westcote appears 
to be responsible, that Combe Martin was a borough and 
sent representatives to Parliament ; but the assertion is 
wholly unfounded. Its mines of silver lead, with those 
of Bere Alston, were unusually productive in the reigns 
of the first Edwards, the silver raised being turned to 
account in the prosecution of war with France. They 
were worked also under Henry V., and were then of little 
account until the days of Elizabeth. Adrian Gilbert, half 
brother of Sir Walter Ralegh, who had considerable skill 
in mining matters, led the way in the new venture ; but 
Sir Bevis Bulmer carried forward the work, and with 
much success. He gave a cup of Combe Martin silver to 
the City of London — still among the Corporation plate — 
the cup and cover weighing 137 ounces ; and another to 


132 History of Devonshire. 

the Earl of Bath (the manor of Combe Martin having 
then passed to the Bourchiers). Each bore a quaint 
inscription ; but a portion of that on the City cup will 
suffice as a sample : 

* Dispersed I in earth did lye 

Since alle beginninge olde 
In place called Combe, where Martin long 

Had hid mee in his molde. 
I dydd no service on the earth, 

And no manne sate mee free. 
Till Bulmer by his skill and charge 

Did frame mee this to be.' 

Another attempt was made under Charles I. so late 
as the year 1648, but without much being done, though 
the project had his personal encouragement. In modem 
times the old mines have been worked and new ones 
opened, without any satisfactory result. Yet the ore is 
rich, yielding 140 and 150 ounces of silver to the ton. 

Not fifty years since Combe Martin supplied a curious 
survival of history in a quaint custom of Ascension Day, 
called the * Hunting of the Earl of Rone.' This part of 
Devon had a noted exceptional intercourse with Ireland 
through the Middle Ages, and, according to tradition, an 
Irish refugee, known as the Earl of Tyrone, was captured 
here by a body of soldiers in a place called Lady's Wood. 
This was the matter commemorated, with the addition 
of a few details of still older May-day mumming; if indeed 
the ' Earl of Rone ' had not been grafted upon the more 
ancient ceremonial, and given it a new lease of life. The 
chief characters were the Earl of Rone, with mask and 
smock, and a chain of biscuits round his neck ; the hobby- 
horse of the elder time, a decorated donkey ; a fool ; and a 
troop of grotesquely dressed grenadiers. The prelimi- 
naries lasted a week, which was devoted to processions ; 
then the Earl was captured in Lady's Wcod, led in mock 
triumph, shot at intervals, lamented by hobby-horse and 

Lynton. 133 

fool ; and the process repeated while contributions could 
be levied. 

Lynton is the chief centre of a corner of Devon next 
Somerset, enclosed on one hand by the high land of 
Exmoor proper, and on the other by a spur which follows 
down to the sea to the east of Combe Martin from Bratton 
Down. To this comparative isolation is it due that the 
district retains much of its original old-world characteris- 
tics ; and that it has had so casual a share in the general 
history of the county. This was not always so, and there 
is abundant evidence, in * camps ' and barrows and other 
memorials of antiquity, that the neighbourhood was well 
populated in Keltic times ; and the next parish to Lynton, 
that of Countisbury, is clearly the * bury or camp of the 
headland,' Cant-ys-bury, akin to Kinterbury, near Plymouth, 
and the Canterbury of Kent. 

The Valley of Rocks, the most romantic feature of 
Lynton, with its grotesque piles of weathered stone and 
mimic natural masonry, has been held to indicate selection 
for the performance of druidical rites — a freak of pure 
fancy on the part of the elder antiquaries, without a 
vestige of evidence in its favour. Far more reasonable is 
the suggestion that Lynton was the scene of ancient raids 
and incursions on the coast by the Severn Sea, especially 
when Harold ravaged that district in 1052. This remote cor- 
ner of Devon, too — probably from the natural strength of its 
position, belted by hills — appears to have formed a kind 
of refuge for the Saxons after the Conquest, for it is stated 
that William himself expelled the natives therefrom. The 
manors of Lynton, Crinton, and Countisbury all passed to 
William Chievre, and Lynton and Countisbury eventually 
came to the Tracys, and by them were given to Ford 
Abbey. After the Dissolution they passed to the family 
of Wichchalse, who are said to have been Protestant 
refugees of Dutch origin. The name occurs, however, 

1 34 History of Devonshire. 

in the records of St. Petrock, Exeter, at a date much 
earlier than that commonly assigned for their immi- 

Old Lynton — or rather Lynmonth, bnt the two are really 
one — ^waSy in the main, a fishing port, with a bias towards 
smuggUng. Westcote tells a story against the ' parson ' of 
Lynton, how that when the herrings first resorted to the 
coast he 'vexed the poor fishermen for extraordinary 
unusual tithes.' The sympathetic herrings ' suddenly 
clean left the coast,' but — ^possibly on the ' parson ' mend- 
ing his way — * God be thanked, they began to resort hither 
again.' In the valley of Badgeworthy, or Badgery, on 
Exmoor, there are yet traces of the huts of the Doones, 
the last gang of professional banditti of a residential 
character in England. Their characters are strongly 
painted in * Loma Doone,' which is fiill of the local 
legends that have lingered long beyond their usual date 
in this quiet spot ; now, under the name of ' the English 
Switzerland,' the increasing resort of the tourist tribe. 

Occasionally used by both parties during the Civil War, 
L)mmouth was the final refiige of Major Wade, when, 
after his escape from Sedgmoor, he had to leave Ilfra- 
combe ; and he was captured in hiding at Farleigh, in 
Brendon. Lydcote Hall, on the flank of Bratton Down, 
has been assumed by many writers, following Sir Walter 
Scott, as the birthplace of the ill-fated Amy Robsart: 
this, however, is an error. 

The little parish of Morthoe, which borders Morte Bay, 
on the other side of Ilfracombe, has a niche alike in 
history and in folk-lore. A tomb in Morthoe Church to 
' Syr Wiliame de Tracey * was recorded by the elder his- 
torians as that of the Tracy murderer of A. Becket. 
Risdon is confident upon the point ; and Westcote jokes 
upon the assumption that some ill-affected persons stole 
the leaden sheets in which Sir William's body was 

Mart hoe. 135 

wrapped, leaving him *in danger of taking cold.' But 
Morthoe is an old Tracy seat, and a chantry in this verj 
church was founded by a rector of Morthoe, Willian 
Tracy, who was undoubtedly buried here. This, coupled 
with the fact that the figure on the tombstone is that of a 
priest, and the frequent use in the Middle Ages of the pre- 
fix * Sir ' to indicate a parish clergyman, renders it probable 
that the whole of the tomb belongs to the rector, as a part 
admittedly does. According to West-Country tradition, 
after the murder of the Archbishop, 

* The Tracys 
Had the wind in their faces ' 

wherever they went, or from whatever quarter it might 
blow ; and, assuredly, high and rugged Morthoe was as 
likely a place as any to secure a remarkable fulfilment. 
Morthoe is ' High Morte,* and Mort is fancifiilly inter- 
preted to mean * death.' Beyond Morte Point is Morte 
Stone, the cause of many a shipwreck, which will be 
removed when it is taken in hand by a husband who can 
say from experience that the grey mare is not the better 
horse. There is, indeed, a version of the tradition which 
places the power in the hands of a number of wives who 
have the sovereignty, but adds sagely that enough have 
not been got together to produce the result. And Mort- 
hoe itself supplies material for yet another wise saw in 
the declaration that it is the place which ' God made last, 
and the devil will take first ;' which may be matched in 
Northumberland at Elsdon, and probably in many other 
rugged neighbourhoods. 



LUNDT Island has afforded ample proof of its settlement 
in fax-back antiquity. Here in 1850 were found a couple 
of huge stone kists lying side by side, the larger of which 
contained an extended skeleton 8 feet 2 inches in length, 
while the other held the bones of a body which was 
several inches above the average height. Seven other 
skeletons of ordinary size, without coffins, were found in 
the same line; and then a burial-pit, containing a mass of 
bones of men, women, and children, with pottery, 
fragments of bronze, and beads. These remains belonged 
to two distinct periods — the ' giants' graves,' as they are 
locally called, dating from the Stone age. Another relic 
of the distant past was discovered in the following year 
— a huge earth-covered cromlech, the table-stone weigh- 
ing about five tons. There are also traces of ancient 
cultivation, which show the presence, many centuries 
since, of a comparatively large population. 

So much for the prehistoric days of this singular islet. 
It does not appear to have definitely found its way upon 
the historical record until the twelfth century, when it 
was the stronghold of Jordan de Marisco, who had 
married Agnes, daughter of Hamelin Plantagenet, natural 
brother of Henry II. His turbulence led to the forfeiture 
of Lundy, and its grant to the Knights Templars ; but 

Lundy Island. 137 

the family remained in possession notwithstanding, for 
in 1 199 Jordan's son, William, followed in his father's 
steps, and forfeiture in favour of the Templars was then 
declared by John. Again was it found that to forfeit 
was one thing, and to seize another. Feeling secure in 
his island strength, Sir William defied alike Templars and 
King, levied contributions on the adjacent coast, and 
finally had to be besieged — a special hidage rate being 
levied in Devon and Cornwall to raise the funds. Whether 
he was even then ejected is by no means certain ; for 
little conclusion can be drawn from the appointment by 
the Crown of keepers of Lundy ; and it is known that 
the Templars never entered into possession. 

Sir William, however, must have found it desirable to 
make an alliance with France, for he was among the 
prisoners taken by the English in the naval battle of 
August 24, 1 2 17. He was speedily forgiven, and three 
months later Lundy was restored. The next Lord of 
Lundy, Jordan, or Geoffrey, de Marisco, was slain while 
engaged in a raid at Kilkenny in 1234 ; and his son 
William, having set on an assassin to murder Henry IIL 
at Woodstock, was taken by stratagem, and hung, 
drawn, and quartered, while sixteen of his associates 
were dragged at the cart's-tail, and hanged. Thus for a 
time the Mariscos were at length effectually dispossessed. 
Bearing a noble name, and claiming to be men of high 
degree, they were really among the most pestilent piratical 
rascalry that ever fulfilled the sad words of the old 
chronicler, by filling their castles with * devils and evil 
men.' There are several traces of their sway in the 
remains of their castle and other buildings ; and it has 
been suggested that from this period date certain round 
towers, the foundations of which have considerable 
resemblance to those of Ireland. 

Lundy was now in the possession of the Crown ; and, 
as it was the common resort of the King's enemies, was 

138 History of Devonshire. 

placed in charge of a saccession of governors, among 
whom were Henry de Tracy, Robert de Walerond, 
Ralph de WyUyngton, Humphry de Bohmi, and Geoffrey 
Dinant. Forty years had barely elapsed, however, before 
(1281) the Mariscos were back again. Next we find 
John de Wyllyngton keeping Lnndy from Herbert de 
Marisco by force of arms ; and the Mariscos were finaUy 
dispossessed in 132 1 by the grant of the island, with the 
other estates of De Wyllyngton, to the King's favomite, 
Hugh, Lord le Despencen This led in 1326 to the 
selection of Lundy by Edward II. as a place of refiige. 
But the winds were contrary, and the King had to land 
in Wales. With the fall of Le Despencer, and the 
accession of Edward III., Lundy again returned to the 
Crown, and was put in the keeping of Otho de Bodrigan. 
Subsequently it got back to the Wyllyngtons, and was 
sold by them to the Montacutes, Earls of Salisbury. In 
1390, Lundy was held of the King in chief by Guy, Lord 
Bryan, and it descended firom him through the Butlers, 
Earls of Wiltshire and Ormond, to the St. Legers of 
Annery; thence passing, by the marriage of Mary St 
Leger with the gallant Sir Richard Grenville, to the 
Grenvilles. From the Grenvilles it went to the Leveson- 
Gowers ; but was sold by the executors of the first Earl 
Gower, and since then has passed through several hands. 
It seems iinpossible to obtain a complete account of the 
holders and owners of the island; but, amidst much 
uncertainty, its importance in the Middle Ages is pretty 
plainly indicated by the number of prominent names 
associated with it. 

The most romantic part of the history of Lundy 
extends through the seventeenth century. In the opening 
years of the reign of James I. it gradually grew into 
favour as a haunt of pirates, and had for * king ' one 
Captain Salkeld. He must have been expeUed, if it be 
true that * Judas' Stukely made it the place of his 

Lundy Island. 139 

retreat ; but in 1625 the island seems to have fallen into 
the hands of a Turkish squadron, and thenceforward for 
many years it was nothing if not piratical. In 1632 it 
was reported the headquarters of a buccaneer named 
Admiral Nutt, who required for his repression a fleet of 
some dozen vessels. But in the next year the island 
itself was plundered by a Spanish vessel ; and it is some- 
what doubtful how far the native inhabitants of Lundy, 
and of the adjacent coasts of the mainland, were clear 
from all participation in this special form of 'free 

At the commencement of the Civil War, Lundy was 
garrisoned for the King by one Thomas Bushell, who was 
engaged in working the silver-lead mines of Combe 
Martin, and who fortified it at his own cost. But it saw 
no service ; and having been acquired by Lord Saye and 
Sele, that nobleman, in February, 1646, called for its 
surrender. Bushell, not complying, was summoned by 
Sir Thomas Fairfax; but even then he declined to give 
way until he had laid the case before the King, and 
obtained his consent. Hence it was not until February 
24th, 1647, that Lundy was given up to Colonel Richard 
Fiennes, and handed over to Lord Saye and Sele. There 
is a local tradition that his lordship died there, and was 
buried beneath the west window of the Chapel of St. 

Under the Commonwealth the sea was too closely 
kept to allow of Lundy resuming its evil reputation ; but 
with the Restoration the Lundy piracies cropped up 
again. In 1663 the island was actually held by French 
privateers ; and so again in the reign of Queen Anne, to 
the serious damage of the colonial trade of Barnstaple 
and Bideford. There is no truth, however, in the story 
told by Grose of the capture of the island by a French 
vessel, the crew of whom gained an unopposed access by 
the pretence that they wished to bury their captain. 

I40 History of Devonshire. 

The last noteworthy thing about Lundy is its connection 
with a certain Thomas Benson, the descendant of a 
respectable merchant family of Bideford, and at one 
time member for Barnstaple. Having entered into a 
contract for the exportation of convicts to Virginia or 
Maryland in 1747, in 1748 he obtained a lease of the 
island from Lord Gower, and thereupon made that his 
convict station, emplo}dng his unhappy slaves in his 
improvements. Lundy or Virginia mattered not in his 
view, so that they were out of the kingdom. Benson 
was every way a great rascal. A smuggler, not far removed 
from a pirate, he had at length to fly the kingdom for 
an abominable fraud upon insurance offices, removing 
the insured cargoes of vessels, and then scuttling the 

Since Benson's time, Lundy has had no national con- 
cern, save the erection of a lighthouse on its highest 
point by the Trinity Board in 1819. It has, however, at 
various times been made the residence of its owners. 
Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, who bought it of the 
executors of the first Earl Gower, continued there until 
the outbreak of the American War ; and the late pro- 
prietor, Mr. Heaven, lived there up to the time of his 
death for nearly fifty years. The only attempt made to 
develop a trade at Lundy was the working of granite 
quarries, which he encouraged, but which did not prove 
successful. These quarries must, however, have been 
worked in former times, as the Lundy granite is largely 
used in many of the churches on the north coast of 
Devon and Cornwall. 



BiDBFORD is generally interpreted to mean ' by the ford,' 
and in name, at any rate, is therefore Saxon. The 
' ford,' however, is of far older date, being that by which 
the old British trackway, subsequently no doubt used by 
the Romans, crossed the Torridge. Bideford was a place 
of some importance when it belonged to Brictric, its last 
Saxon owner ; for at the Domesday Survey, when, like 
most of the other manors of that unlucky thane, it passed 
to Matilda, it had an enumerated population of 52, while, 
as it then had a fishery worth 25s. a year, the germs of 
its maritime character already existed. The manor is 
remarkable for having remained for nearly seven centuries 
in one family. After Matilda died, William gave it to 
Richard Grenville ; and by the Grenvilles it continued to 
be held until 1750. The first Grenville of Bideford was a 
cousin of the Conqueror, and in his way a conqueror him- 
self; for he effected the reduction of Glamorganshire in 
the reign of Rufus. The Grenvilles occupy a distinguished 
position in English history ; but the two most &mous 
bearers of the name are the Grenville of Elizabeth and 
the Grenville of Charles. Most famous of all is the 
former, the Sir Richard Grenville (1540-1591) of whom 
Kingsley writes, one of the brightest stars in the 
Elizabethan naval galaxy, who closed a noble life in the 

1 42 History of Devonshire. 

stoutest sea-fight ever waged. Ralegh has told the story 
in noble prose, and Tennyson in heroic verse. Alone and 
unaided in his ship the Revenge, with but 103 men and 
many of them sick, he fought off Flores, in 1591, the 
whole Spanish fleet of 52 sail and 10,000 men, from three 
o'clock in the afternoon until daybreak the following 
morning, repulsing fifteen attacks of the enemy, who 
brought up two fresh vessels each time, sinking four of 
their ships, and killing 1,000 of their men. The Revenge, 
meantime, was shattered into a mere hulk, 800 cannon- 
shot piercing her through and through, killing 40 of her 
crew, and wounding nearly all the rest, Grenville among 
the number. When the sun rose on the scene of carnage, 
the Revenge, shattered and broken as she was, her decks 
streaming with blood, a veritable shambles, lay in the 
centre of a ring of baffled Spanish men-of-war, who dared 
come no nearer. Want of ammunition, not of pluck, 
compelled the crew to surrender, though Grenville himself 
wished the vessel to be blown up. Three days afterwards, 
Grenville died of his wounds, with a jo)^ul and quiet 
mind ; * for that I have ended my life as a true soldier 
ought to do, that hath fought for his country, Queen, 
religion, and honour.' The Revenge was staunch to the 
last. After the battle she was filled with the Spanish 
wounded, and despatched for Spain ; but a storm sprang 
up, and she was never heard of more, sinking with all 

Sir Bevil Grenville (1596-1643), whom Kingsley calls 
the ' handsomest and most gallant of his generation ' — a 
Cavalier in whom lived the truest spirit of ancient 
chivalry — gained lasting fame for himself as one of the 
four great Royalist leaders of the West — ^the * four wheels 
of Charles's wain.' Winning the day for his King at 
Lansdowne fight, he lost his life in the winning ; and for 
a while the name of Grenville was dishonoured by the 
atrocities of his brother Richard, one of the most 

Bideford, 1 43 

rapacious and unscrupulous of the Cavalier generak, as 
Bevil was the noblest. 

It may fairly be assumed that it was to the Grenvilles, 
and notably to Sir Richard, that Bideford owed the rapid 
development of her maritime importance in the latter 
years of the sixteenth century. Sir Richard was con- 
cerned with Sir Walter Ralegh, his cousin, in the ex- 
peditions to colonize Virginia ; and was General of the 
fleet which, in 1585, settled Roanoake. In the following 
year he was setting out again from Barnstaple to the 
relief of the infant colony, when his vessels were beneaped 
on the bar. The delay thus caused led the colonists to 
despair of relief, and to return home in a barque given 
them by Sir Francis Drake. This accident was, there- 
fore, the direct cause of the breaking up of the first 
English settlement in America ; and of the loss of fifteen 
North Devon men, whom Grenville left behind at 
Roanoake when his second voyage was made, and who 
were never heard of after, save that the Indians had 
vague tidings to tell of death and disaster. 

It was with a fleet destined for the same service that 
North Devon participated in the fight with the Armada. 
Grenville had prepared an expedition for the relief of the 
colony planted by Ralegh in 1587, apparently consisting 
of three vessels, which was only waiting for a fair wind to 
put to sea, when the news came of the speedy advent of 
the Armada, and * most of the ships of warre then in a 
readines in any hauen in England were stayed for seruice 
at home.' According to the contemporary Diary of 
Philip Wyot, town clerk of Barnstaple, five ships went 
over Barnstaple Bar to join Sir Francis Drake at Ply- 
mouth ; but, while it has been held that three at least 
were furnished by Barnstaple, Bideford — in consequence 
of a statement in * Westward Ho !' not, however, historical 
— has been credited with seven. Mr. R. W. Cotton, after 
an exhaustive analysis of all the evidence, is of opinion 

144 History of Devonshire. 

that the North Devon Armada fleet consisted of these five 
vessels only. The names of four have been preserved — 
the Galeon Dudley, God save her, and Tyger, entered as 
Barnstaple vessels, bnt probably forming Grenville*s con- 
tingent ; and the John, a Barnstaple vessel proper. The 
other was also in all Ukelihood a Barnstaple craft, possibly 
one of six * reprisal ships ' which are recorded as having 
belonged to that town. 

That Bideford was the headquarters of the Ralegh- 
Grenville expedition, and so the chief contributor to the 
little squadron, there is every reason to beUeve ; but Mr. 
Cotton has shown that eight years after the defeat of the 
Armada it was only assessed at one-fifth as much as 
Barnstaple, and that of itself it could by no means have 
supplied all the seamen needed. Bideford, therefore, was 
not one of the chief ports of England in the sixteenth 
century, as Kingsley states, though it bore a chief part in 
the Armada fight so fiu" as North Devon is concerned. 
It was then, in fact, simply in the dawn of its prosperity ; 
and had only been incorporated under Elizabeth. 

When the commerce of the town began to rise, its 
extension was very rapid. The merchants of the port 
were quick to grasp the advantage of the traffic with 
America and Newfoundland ; and this trade continued to 
extend until the commencement of the last century, when 
the export shipping to Newfoundland was exceeded by 
only two ports in the kingdom — London and Topsham ; 
and the import trade by London only. Great was the 
harvest reaped in these days by the French and Spanish 
privateers, who preyed upon the ships of Bideford and 
Barnstaple to such an extent that the offing of the Taw 
and Torridge was named by them the 'Golden Bay.* 
But the American trade survived until the American war. 
For some years more tobacco was imported into Bideford 
than into London. These palmy days have long since 
flown ; Barnstaple has once more recovered its superior 

Bideford. 145 

position ; and the shipping trade of the Torridge is 
mostly conducted, not at Bideford, but at Appledore. 

Bideford, like Barnstaple, has a famous bridge. In 
fact, in Devonshire it is the bridge of bridges, and every 
true Bideford man feels a pride in , the old structure, 
though he may not have seen it for half a century, and 
solicitously inquires for its welfare. Its origin is super 
natural ; its history romantic ; and its demeanour philan- 
thropic. It is quite uncertain when it was built, the early 
records having been destroyed ; but, as the oldest seal of 
the borough in existence, of fourteenth-century date, has 
the bridge for device, so old at least must Bideford Bridge 
be. According to tradition, no foundation could be laid 
until Sir Richard Gornard, or Gurney, the parish priest, 
dreamt that a rock had been rolled to the site to serve for 
that purpose, and, going there in the morning, found his 
dream accomplished ; whereupon the work was soon com- 
pleted. The seal to which reference has been made 
indicates the existence of buildings in association with 
the bridge that have long disappeared. A structure 
with a bell turret is on one side of the bridge, a church 
with a spire on the other, and the centre bears the Virgin 
and Child on a Maltese cross raised on a shaft. The 
bridge is wealthy ; and the feoffees, in whose care it is, 
have been enabled from time to time to improve it 
materially, and to expend a handsome surplus in education 
and charity. Under the old regime the bridge was rather 
noted for its hospitality, being addicted to the giving of 
good dinners ; but these days have fled before the presence 
of the Charity Commissioners. 

Bideford, like Barnstaple, threw in its lot with the 
Parliament at the outbreak of the Wars of the Common- 
wealth, with more energy than staying-power. With their 
neighbours from Barnstaple, the Bideford band joined the 
rendezvous of the Devonshire Roundheads at Modbury in 
1642, and took part in Sir Ralph Hopton's defeat. 


146 History of Dtvonshire. 

This success inspired a confidence which led to their 
downfall. Colonel Digby held Torrington with a strong 
body of Cavaliers to keep the North Devon Parliamen- 
tarians in check. In August, 1643, he was assailed by the 
united forces of Bideford and Barnstaple, but their van- 
guard of musketeers, being suddenly charged by the 
colonel and a handful of his officers, were driven back upon 
the main body. Panic-stricken, they all fled, and were 
pursued by the Royalist cavalry until, as Clarendon 
states, 'their swords were blunted with slaughter, and 
their numbers overburdened with prisoners.' Those who 
escaped had lost their wits as well as the day ; for wHen 
they reached Bideford they declared that no one had seen 
more than five or six of the enemy. Behind their walls 
and within their forts, however, they regained their courage, 
and, aided by Barnstaple, sustained a month's siege from 
Digby. They must then have stood to their guns well, 
for they did not surrender until they had promise of pardon, 
and guarantees of safety of person and property. Re- 
mains of the old fortifications still exist, East-the- Water. 

Shebbeare, the author of * Chrysal,' was a Bideford 
man ; and here was first developed the genius of Edward 
Capern, the Devonshire Burns and postman poet, who is, 
however, a native of Tiverton. 

Bideford is connected with the last execution for witch- 
craft in the West of England — the last but one in the 
kingdom. In 1682 there lived here * three old women, 
ugly, poor, and discontented ' — Temperance Lloyd, 
Susannah Edwards, Mary Trembles. Lloyd was a 
reputed witch, and the fact that she fell upon her knees 
in the street and thanked God for the recovery from 
illness of a. certain Mistress Thomas seemed ground 
enough, when Thomas got worse again, to excite suspicion 
that Lloyd was the moving cause. Taxed with the witch- 
craft, she confessed. She confessed, moreover, that the 
devil attended her in the shape of a magpie, of a ' braget 

Bideford, 147 

cat,' of a hobgoblin ; and that she had killed by her 
witcheries four persons, whom she named. Hints let 
drop by her next led to the apprehension of Susannah 
Edwards and Mary Trembles. They, too, gave foil con- 
fession. When Susannah Edwards made the acquaintance 
of the devil, he was ' like a gentleman.' Trembles was 
not so favoured. The devil had appeared to her * like a 
Lyon.' The full text of these confessions is still extant, 
and is equally absurd and revolting. But the trio were 
convicted on their own testimony ; and these three poor 
women, either mad or weary of life — described by an 
eye-witness as 'the most old, decrepid, despicable, 
miserable creatures that he ever saw' — ^were hanged at 
Heavitree, near Exeter, on the 2Sth of August, within 
two months of their apprehension. There were other 
trials for witchcraft in Devon and Cornwall in 1695-6 ; 
but though these ended in acquittal, it was not until 1716 
that the last executions for this impossible offence took 
place, when a woman and her daughter were hanged at 
Huntingdon for selling their souls to the devil. It is an 
unpleasant commentary upon this that the belief in 
witchcraft is still widely prevalent in the rural districts of 
Devon, and leads to the cremation of multitudes of 
miserable toads, who are looked upon as the emissaries of 
the Evil One. However, if there are * black witches ' to 
do mischief, there are several * white witches ' who, for a 
consideration, will baulk their projects. 

Northam is said to have been the scene of the landing 
of the Danes in 878 ; of their siege of Kenwith Castle, 
and of their repulse with great slaughter, the defeat of 
their chief, Hubba, and the capture of the Raven 
standard. Few identifications have been more disputed ; 
yet the existence of the * Hubbastow,' Hubba's traditional 
place of burial, and the assignment of the * Bloody Comer ' 
as the Danes' last stand, is evidence that cannot lightly 

10 — 2 

148 History of Devonshire, 

be gainsaid. The manor had some importance so for 
back as * Domesday,' when it belonged to St. Stephen, of 
Caen, in succession to Brictric ; for it had then an 
enumerated population of 36, with two salt-works and a 
fishery. In 1252 it was confirmed as part of the posses- 
sions of the Priory of Frampton, in Dorset, a cell to St. 
Stephen ; and when the possessions of the alien houses 
were seized, was given to the College of St. Mary Ottery. 
Ottery, in its turn, fell ; and Elizabeth granted the manor 
to the Dean and Chapter of Windsor, so that it has 
almost continuously been under ecclesiastical lords. 

The little . town of Appledore had its rise in the early 
days of the Newfoundland fisheries, and developed a 
shipping trade of some importance. Appledore has been 
treated as Keltic, * A-pwl-dwr,' the * water-pool ;' but it 
is really the Saxon ' Appletree.' Of late a new town has 
sprung up at the mouth of the Torridge, created and 
named by Kingsley's 'Westward Ho !' This faces the sea 
on the verge of the wide expanse of sandy dunes called 
Northam Burrows, which is defended against the en- 
croachments of the waves by the natural breakwater ot 
Carboniferous pebbles, known as the * Pebble Ridge.' 
Rights over the Burrows are exercised by the potwallopers, 
or householders, of Northam ; and it is one of the few 
spots in England where the game of golf has been 
thoroughly naturalized. 

On the opposite side of the river is Instow, really 
Johns-stow, and thus called in * Domesday. * 

Borough, in Northam, made ever famous by Kingsley 
in its association with his Sir Amyas Leigh, was the 
seat of a family of the same name, which produced 
at least two very eminent Devonshire seamen — Steven 
and William Borough. Steven Borough, though little 
known, is entitled to a very honourable place in the list 
of Devon worthies. Born in 1525, he was master of the 
largest vessel, the Edward Bonaventure, in Sir Hugh 

Bideford. 149 

Willoughby's luckless voyage to the Arctic Seas, planned 
by Cabot, and which would have been an utter failure , 
had not Borough and his comrade, Richard Chancellor, 
the pilot-major of the fleet, determined to prosecute their 
voyage after they had been separated from Willoughby by 
a storm. Keeping northward until they found no night 
at all, naming the North Cape on their way, they sailed 
into the White Sea — the first vessel that had ever entered 
its wide waste of waters — thus, as it was afterwards said 
in all earnestness, * discovering ' Russia. Chancellor 
proceeded to Moscow, there obtained important trading 
privileges, and laid the foundations of the important 
Muscovy Company. In 1556, Borough went again to 
the Northern Seas in a pinnace, to carry forward the 
intentions of the original expedition, and to find a way 
by the north-east to Cathay. He made the most re- 
markable voyage in the annals of Arctic exploration. 
The little vessel drew only four feet of water. She had 
for crew only the brothers Borough and eight others ; 
yet she entered the Kara Sea, and reached a point beyond 
which no navigator went until our own days — English, 
Dutch, and Russian failing each in turn. Borough made 
sundry other voyages, and won such reputation that, in 
January, 1563, he was appointed by Elizabeth Chief Pilot 
of England, and one of the four Masters of the Navy. 
For twenty years he toiled in ofi&cial harness, and he was 
buried in Chatham Church in 1584. William Borough, 
also a seaman of distinction, wrote a treatise on the 
magnet, and became Comptroller of the Navy. 

Horwood, for many years the chief residence of the 
Pollards, of whom one notable monument still remains 
in the church — a fifteenth-century effigy of a lady, with 
three children in the folds of her robe — claims mention 
historically from the fact that a shoe nailed on the church 
door was reputed to have been placed there by Michael 
Joseph, the Cornish blacksmith, who headed the in- 

1 50 History of Devonshire. 

surrection of 1497, and marched through Horwood on 
the way to his defeat at Blackheath. 

Abbotsham was anciently part of the estates of the 
Abbey of Tavistock, whence its name ; but early in the 
seventeenth century belonged to the Coffin family, who 
have been seated at Portledge, in the adjoining parish of 
Alwington, almost from the time of the Conquest, and 
who continued there in the male line until the death of 
Richard Coffin in 1766. The family has produced many 
men of note, Sir William Coffin, Master of the Horse 
at the coronation of Anne Boleyn, and a prominent 
participator in the Field of the Cloth of Gold, being of the 
number. He is said to have been a leading cause of the 
reform of mortuary fees by threatening to bury a priest — 
who had declined to read the service over the body of a 
poor man in Bideford churchyard until he had received 
the dead man's cow in payment — in the grave which had 
been prepared. The disturbance thus created — for Sir 
William proceeded to actual business — led to inquiry 
and regulation. The present branch of the family bear 
the name of Pine-Coffin. The Coffins spread also into 
the adjoining parish of Parkham. 

Buckland Brewer has name from the Briweres ; and, 
by the gift of William Lord Briwere, formed part of the 
endowments of the Abbeys of Dunkeswell and Torre. 

On the hill above the quaint little port of Clovelly, the 
most * upright ' village in its structural relations in Eng- 
land, are the gigantic earthworks of Clovelly Dikes. Not 
only are they the finest in Devon, but they are fairly com- 
parable with the reinains of such ancient cities as Old Sarum 
or the Dorchester Maiden Castle. It is certain that 
here was the capital of a powerful tribe. No remains in 
Devon more strongly emphasize the common error of 
calling all earthworks * camps,' and treating them as relics 
of active warfare. Nevertheless the * Dikes ' are a master- 

Bideford. 151 

piece of ancient defensive skill, and must have required 
the long-continued labours of even a numerous population. 
There are three complete circumvallations, the ramparts 
ranging from 15 to 25 feet in height, with outworks or 
fragmentary cinctures. 

Visibly connecting the Dikes with * cliff-cleft' Clovelly, 
are the remains of an ancient paved road, which has been 
cited in proof of presumed Roman origin. It may very 
well have been that the Romans used this landing-place, 
seeing that traces of a Roman villa have been found in 
Hartland parish adjoining, and that the coast here was 
skirted by one of the old trackways ; but there is nothing 
about Clovelly Roman in its character ; and though the 
name has been ingeniously derived from Clausa Vallis, 
the * hidden glen,' there does not seem to be any reason 
to regard it as being anything but Saxon — ^the * cliff-place * 
— Cleaveleigh. The little town is really a sharp notch in 
the cliff range, with a steep step road, lined with houses 
on each side, running down to a beach and pier. There 
is every appearance of considerable antiquity in this. 

Clovelly, indeed, finds a place in * Domesday ' as one of 
the manors that passed from Brictric to Matilda, and had 
then an enumerated population of 37, so that it has fully 
maintained its relative importance. At a very early date 
it was in the hands of the Giffards ; but in the reign of 
Richard II. came to the Carys, who continued to hold it 
until this branch of that distinguished family died out in 
1724. One of the chief members of the Clovelly Carys 
was Sir John, Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1387, who 
died in banishment at Waterford. His son John was, it 
is said, nominated Bishop of Exeter in 1419 by the Pope 
while in Italy, but only lived six weeks afterwards, and was 
never installed. George Cary, Dean of Exeter (1644-1680), 
is recorded in his epitaph to have twice refused a bishopric. 
The church is said to have been made collegiate by Sir 
William Cary in 1387. 

152 History of Devonshire. 

Clovelly, for centuries a fishing village, has acquired 
reputation as a seaside resort. 

Hartland, or Harton, is the westernmost town in Devon, 
and the extensive parish in which it lies occupies nearly 
the whole of the north-west angle of the county. Hartland 
Point is named by Ptolemy after Hercules; and the 
Romans left unmistakable traces of their presence 
in this remote corner. In Saxon times it was evidently a 
county centre of considerable importance, for the popu- 
lation recorded in * Domesday ' exceeds that of any other 
Northern manor — 30 serfs, 60 villeins, and 45 bordars. 
Moreover, it was worth ^f 48 a yean The name in * Domes- 
day ' is Hertitone, agreeing with the modem Harton, but 
the form Hartland is probably of as great antiquity, since 
the affix 'land' is constantly employed in the Devon 
Survey as signifying a district of a promontorial character, 
somewhat akin in usage to the Kornu- Keltic Ian. 

The last Saxon holder of the manor was Gytha, mother 
of Harold, and by her was founded what afterwards be- 
came Hartland Abbey, for canons secular, in gratitude, it 
is said, for the preservation of her husband, Earl Godwin, 
from shipwreck. Her foundation was dedicated to St. 
Nectan, the patron saint of the parish church of Stoke St. 
Nectan, reputedly buried here. The abbey was refounded 
for Augustine canons by Geoffrey de Dynham, or Dinant, 
in the reign of Henry H., and by him re-endowed. It 
had benefactors also in the Tracys, Peverells, and 
Boterells, and Richard I. gave it the right of gallows. At 
the Dissolution its revenues were valued at 3^306 3s. 4d. 

It was to Oliver de Dinant that the market was granted 
to * Harton borough ' in 1280. The Dinants held Hart- 
land until the last male of the name, created Lord Dinham 
by Edward IV. in 1466, died without issue, and his estates 
passed through his sisters to the families of Carew, Arun- 
dell, Fitzwarine, and Zouch. There is some little con- 

Bideford. 153 

fusion as to the further descent of the various manors ; 
but the Abbey, in the basement of which there remain 
portions of the Early English cloisters, belongs to Sir 
George Stucley, who represents, in the female line, the 
Stukelys of Afton, several members of whom figure pro- 
minently in Devonshire history. Thomas Stukely under- 
took the plantation of Florida, but turned to something 
like piracy instead, and died at Alcazar in Africa, fighting 
side by side with Sebastian of Portugal, in 1578. He it 
was who told Elizabeth that he would rather be the 
sovereign of a molehill than the highest subject to the 
greatest king in Christendom. It was Sir Lewis Stukely, 
afterwards named * Judas,' who arrested Ralegh on his 
return from his last voyage ; and in later days Puritanism 
and the Parliament had few more earnest advocates in 
word and deed than another Lewis Stukely, the Indepen- 
dent minister of Exeter. 

A more striking illustration of the comparative isolation 
of Hartland in the sixteenth century can hardly be afforded 
than the fact that it was evidently overlooked by the com- 
missioners of Edward and Elizabeth in their visitations 
for the reform of religion. The church of Stoke St. 
Nectan is not only one of singular architectural merit, 
especially for so remote a situation, but it contains its 
screen in perfect preservation, and, what is far more note- 
worthy, its stone altar standing in its original place. 

There are stated to have been anciently eleven chapels in 
this extensive parish. The parish documents are unusually 
numerous and interesting, and have been reported on by 
the Historical Manuscripts Commission. Dr. Moreman, 
born at Hartland in 1529, vicar of Menheniot, is reputed 
to have been the first who used the English language in 
public worship in Cornwall — teaching his parishioners the 
Creed, Commandments, and Lord's Prayer in that tongue. 



What is now Great Torrington was of old Cheping 
( = Market) Torrington. There are several Torringtons 
entered in ' Domesday,' and the need of distinction was 
early felt. Now we have Great Torrington, Little Torring- 
ton close by, and Black Torrington some miles higher 
up the river. Of these the only one that has a history is 
the first. Gytha held lands in one of the Torringtons, but 
probably not the 'great ' manor of that name. Under the 
Normans Great Torrington became the head of an honour 
containing twenty-nine knights' fees, which were eventually 
divided among the five daughters of Matthew de Tor- 
rington, married respectively to Merton, Wallis, Tracy, 
Sully, and Umfraville. This seriously complicates the 
descent of the barony and manor. In 1328, however, the 
Castle of Torrington belonged to Henry de Tracy, and 
the Sheriff of Devon was directed to cause it to be thrown 
down. A return to a writ of inquiry under Edward I. 
shows Thomas de Merton possessed of two parts, Walter 
de Sully of one part, John Umfraville of one part, and 
Galfride de Kamville, by the death of Henry de Tracy, of 
one part. The names of De Brian, St. John, and Gary 
afterwards come into the succession, and when John 
de Gary was attainted 2 Heniy IV. his estates passed to 
Robert Ghalons. The castle was rebuilt in 1340 by 

Great Torrington. 155 

Robert de Merton. Little more than the name of Castle 
Hill continues. It was at Torrington the Sessions were 
held in 1484, at which the Marquis of Dorset, Sir Edward 
Courtenay, Bishop Peter Courtenay, and 500 other noble- 
men and gentlemen, were outlawed for treason against 
Richard III.; while Sir Thomas St. Leger, who had 
married Richard's sister, and Thomas Rayme/ were found 
guilty of high treason, and beheaded at Exeter. Margarfet 
of Richmond was one of the chief residents of Torrington, 
and gave her manor-house as a residence for the vicar. 
Torrington no doubt was Lancastrian. Torrington has 
had two illustrious vicars. Cardinal Wolsey, who held the 
incumbency until his promotion to the See of Lincoln in 
1514, and gave the church to his new foundation of Christ 
Church, Oxford. And John Howe, chaplain to the Pro- 
tector, who was ejected in 1662. 

The church figures prominently in the one event which 
links Torrington with the later history of the kingdom. 
The town was held for the King by Sir John Digby in 
August, 1643, when the Bideford and Barnstaple men 
made their unsuccessful assault, and in the hands of the 
Royalists it chiefly remained. In February, 1646, it was 
the headquarters of Lord Hopton, who had been making 
preparations for the relief of Exeter. Fairfax soon advanced 
against him, marching from Crediton to Chulmleigh on 
the 14th, and mustering all his forces at Ashreigney on 
the i6th. Although he had an army of 9,500 men, Hopton 
was unaware of his approach until attack was imminent ; 
and the preparations for defence were necessarily of a 
hurried character. Nevertheless, the advance of the 
Parliamentary troops was so obstructed by skirmishing 
behind the hedges and by blocking the roads with trees, 
that, although they left Ashreigney at seven in the morning, 
it was eight in the evening before Torrington was reached, 
Stevenstone House having been taken on the way. Even 
then, although Hopton had no more than 5,000 troops. 

156 History of Devonshire. 

his position might almost have been deemed impregnable. 
Standing upon a hill among hills, all but girdled with 
deep valleys, the place is one of great natural strength ; 
and Hopton had made good disposition of his forces. 
Fairfax was content with what had been already done for 
the day, and prepared for an assault in the morning. 
About midnight, however, as he and Cromwell were going 
their rounds, they heard sounds that led them to imagine 
the enemy were in retreat. To test the point a small 
body of dragoons was ordered to approach the first 
barricade and fire over. They met with such a warm 
reception that others had to be sent to their relief; and 
then the reserve, thinking that an attack had been com- 
menced, came running up without waiting for orders. 
An assault in force was now inevitable; and, after an 
hour's desperate fighting, the place was won. Hopton 
himself was wounded and barely escaped. The Royalist 
losses were very heavy. More than 600 prisoners were 
taken; and, though Fairfax did little in the way of 
pursuit, there was another sharp conflict at Hembuiy 
Fort, near Buckland Brewer, where the Cavaliers took 
refuge within the earthworks of the ancient camp. 

The capture of Torrington was the real end to the war 
in the West. It was signalized, moreover, by a great 
catastrophe. The Royalists had converted the church 
into a powder-magazine. The Roundheads, ignorant of 
this, drove into it 200 of their prisoners. Whether by 
accident or by design the powder was fired, and the 
church blew up, killing prisoners, guards, and townsfolk, 
and destroying scores of houses. Fairfax nearly fell a 
victim; but it was noted as an evidence of miraculous 
interposition with the ' hellish plot ' — a * mira non mirabilia ' 
— ^that * though the Books of Common Prayer were blowne 
up or burnt, the blessed Bible was preserved and not 
obliterated, although it were blowne away.' Hugh Peters 
preached a thanksgiving sermon for the capture in the 

Great Torrington. 157 

market-place, and a more formal thanksgiving was ap- 
pointed by the Parliament, In addition to the prisoners, 
3,000 stand of arms and the whole of the baggage and 
money of the Royal army were taken. 

The inhabitants of Great Torrington have extensive 
and peculiar rights over the common lands adjoining their 
town, which are said by Risdon to date from the time of 
Richard L The documentary history extends to the reign 
of Elizabeth. Over the unenclosed commons of 370 acres 
* all occupiers of ancient messuages,' locally called * pot- 
boilers,' claim the right to common of pasture without 
stint. Over another 163 acres of * common fields ' similar 
rights are claimed, subject to a right of tillage in the 
owner of the fee. The ancient custom was to remove the 
gates of these fields annually after harvest, and stock 
the land with cattle from the adjacent open commons until 
the customary time for the next year's tillage. In 1835 
this plan was modified by an agreement on the part of the 
occupiers to pay, and the commoners to receive, * quiet 
possession rents,' in consideration of which the fields are 
allowed to be cultivated in any way thought proper. Still 
more recently fresh disputes have arisen between the 
commoners and the lord of the manor, the Hon. Mark 

Considering the antiquity and early importance of 
Torrington, and the large number of important families 
resident in the neighbourhood, it may seem somewhat 
singular that Torrington should not have had a more 
prominent place in the national life. Two causes probably, 
however, contributed to this — one, the fact that notwith- 
standing its antiquity and trade, it lay in an isolated part 
of the country, outside the run of ordinary traflic; the 
other, its successful endeavour in 1368 to rid itself of the 
burden of sending burgesses to Parliament, on the score 
of its poverty. It was represented 23rd Edward I. to 
45th Edward III. The present incorporation of the town 

158 History of Devonshire. 

as a municipality dates from Mary; but the seal of 
* Chipyngtoriton ' is certainly of older date. The market 
is held by prescription, and possibly has a Saxon origin. 
The town was largely engaged in the woollen manufacture; 
it is now chiefly occupied in gloving, of which it is a very 
important centre. 

Frithelstock, an adjoining parish to Great Torrington, 
held by Ordulf before the Conquest, then passing to the 
Earl of Moreton, is chiefly noteworthy here as having 
been the site of a small priory of Austin canons, founded, 
1220, by Sir Roger de Beauchamp. Portions of the 
original Early English structure are still standing. The 
Priory was settled by monks from Hartland, and the 
two houses were always so far connected that the prior 
of each had a voice in the election of the head of the 
other. The revenues at the Dissolution were valued at 
3^127 2s. ojd. ; and the estate was granted by Henry VII. 
to Arthur, Viscount Lisle, afterwards passing into the 
family of RoUe, and descending to the Earl of Orford 
and Lord Clinton. The advowson of Ashwater was 
given by Richard de Braylegh, temp. Edward III., to the 
prior and convent of Frithelstock for certain charities. 

Monkleigh was given to the Priory of Montacute in 
Somerset by its founder, William, Earl Moreton, in the 
reign of Henry I., and after the Dissolution passed to the 
family of Coflin. Here is the ancient seat and park of 
Annery, once the home of ' the Stapledons, then by 
marriage of the Hahkfords. This was the residence of 
Sir William Hankford, born at Hankford, in Bulkworthy, 
and created in 1413 Lord Chief Justice of the King's 
Bench ; the judge who traditionally disputes with 
Gascoigne and Hody the credit of having committed 
Henry V., as Prince of Wales, to prison for striking him 
a blow on the Bench. Another tradition, probably of 
equal authority, is connected with Hankford alone. 

Great Torrington, 159 

Having returned to Annery, and being weary of his life, 
he accused his park-keeper of want of care in the pre- 
servation of his deer, and ordered him to shoot anyone 
whom he might meet in his rounds at night, and who did 
not answer upon being challenged. Having so provided, 
he himself walked in the park, met his keeper, refused to 
reply to the challenge, and, as he hoped and intended, 
was shot by a quarrel from the keeper's cross-bow. A 
tree is still pointed out as that under which Hankford 
was standing at the time ; and there is yet a little dread 
in the country-side of meeting the ghost of the Lord 
Chief Justice. All the ancient accounts of the transac- 
tion differ so materially that speculation seems almost 
idle. Hankford was, however, buried at Monkleigh, 
where his mutilated monument remains. His descendants 
married into the families of Fitzwarine, St. Leger, and 
Bourchier, Grenville, Stukely, and Tremayne. Anne 
BuUen was granddaughter of Anne, daughter and heiress 
of Sir Richard Hankford, thus enabling the county to 
claim Queen Elizabeth as in part of Devonshire kindred. 

Wear Giffard has already been mentioned as one of 
the seats of the once wide-spread and powerful family of 
Giffard, and later of the Fortescues, whose manor-house 
has one of the noblest halls of its period still left, the 
roof being reckoned among the finest examples of 
Perpendicular woodwork in England. 

Then we have, on the east of Torrington, the extensive 
parish of St. Giles-in-the-Wood, so called to distinguish 
it from St. Giles-in-the-Heath, which lies on the borders 
of Cornwall, and which contains the manor of Carv, 
reputedly the original home of the Cary family. The 
church of St. Giles was originally a chapel to Torrington. 
Stevenstone here, now the property of the Hon. Mark 
RoUe, in the time of Henry H. belonged to Richard St. 
Michael, thence passing to Basset, De la Ley, Grant, and 
Moyle; and finally, in the reign of Henry VHL, being 

i6o History of Devonshire. 

bought by George Rolle, an eminent London merchant. 
Way passed from the Ways to the Pollards and WyUing- 
tons. Winscott from the Barrys came to Risdon, the 
chorographer (1580-1640), now represented by Sir Stafford 
Northcote, and is the seat of Mr. J. C. Moore-Stevens, a 
descendant of one of the wealthy townsfolk and bene- 
factors of Torrington, William Stevens. There are also 
Dodescot, which belonged to the Howards ; and Whits- 
leigh, held by Dynants, Durants, Kellaways, Drakes, and 

The parish of Merton is celebrated as containing the 
manor of Potheridge, the home for many descents of the 
family of Monk, made illustrious in their descendant, 
the famous General. There is some little confusion as to 
the exact place of Monk's birth (1608), arising from the 
fact that he was baptised, not at Merton, but at Land- 
cross, a parish some miles distant, adjoining Bideford. 
Hence he has been variously regarded as being born at 
Potheridge and at Landcross. However, Potheridge 
was both the seat of his family and became his own 
chief residence. The mansion was rebuilt by him for 
that purpose ; but in greater part was destroyed after the 
death of the widow of his son Christopher, the second 
and last duke, in 1734. Monk was one of those men, so 
characteristic of the period in which he lived, who were 
equally at home at sea or on land ; and his first service 
was marine. Afterwards he saw much active duty in 
Scotland and Ireland, originally as a partizan of Charles L; 
but subsequently in command of the Roundhead forces 
under CromwelL In Ireland he dispersed the forces of 
O'Neale ; and in Scotland he quenched the hopes of the 
Royalists by the capture of Edinburgh and Stirling 
Castles. Then he became * general at sea,' and defeated 
the Dutch in two great engagements ; after which, for a 
while, he took up his residence at Dalkeith. Here he 
was living when Cromwell died ; and hence he marched 

Great Torrington. i6i 

into England with a small army, and took the leadership 
of aifairs, and the direction of the movement which led to 
the restoration of Charles IL The King was grateful. 
Monk was made Captain-General, Baron Potheridge, 
Earl of Torrington, and Duke of Albemarle. Thence- 
forward, until his death in 1670, he held the foremost 
position in the kingdom in all matters connected with the 
national defence. His last service of importance was the 
defeat of the Dutch in conjunction with Prince Rupert. 

Concerning Merton itself, it may be noted that at the 
Conquest it passed to Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances, 
having been held by Torquil. The * Domesday ' entry 
gives it all the characteristics of a wild woodland manor ; 
for to a population of 23 serfs, villeins, and bordars, it 
had no fewer than 9 swineherds. A much smaller manor 
of the same name was held by Richard, under Baldwin 
the Sheriff. Baldwin was likewise the lord of Porridge, 
in which we may in all probability identify Potheridge. 
This had been the land of Ulf, and was held under 
Baldwin by Alberic. There seems to have been some 
connection between Potheridge and Merton, possibly 
derived from ancient common ownership, as the rector 
of Merton was entitled to a dinner every Sunday and 
the keep of his grey mare out of the barton of Potheridge, 
which eventually was commuted for a modus of ;f3 per 
annum. At least, so say the Lysonses, following Chappie. 
Merton, which was for a while in the Stawells (following 
the Mertons) and the Rolles, passed to the Trefusises, 
Barons Clinton. 




There is no more uninteresting part of Devon historically 
than the corner next the Cornish border, of which the 
chief centres are Holsworthy and Hatherleigh ; and yet it 
is precisely here that almost the only trace of Roman 
influence on the nomenclature of Devon, outside Exeter, is 
to be found. Near North Lew — a bleak upland parish, 
where, according to the local proverb, ' the devil died of the 
cold ' — are Chester Moor, Scobchester, and Wickchester ; 
and it does not seem possible to evade the conclusion that 
these names mark the localities of Roman castra, and 
point to some sort of Roman, perhaps frontier, occupation. 
Hatherleigh formed part of the original endowment of 
Tavistock Abbey, and appears in ' Domesday ' under the 
name of Adrelie. The entry has some interesting features. 
The Abbey held in demesne 6 serfs, 26 villeins, and 6 
coscets; and there were 4 tenants under the abbey — 
Nigel, Walter, Geoffrey, and Ralph, who had 4 serfs, 12 
villeins, 4 bordars, and 5 coscets. Geoffrey, moreover, 
had a mill upon his lands. This tenancy — itself continu- 
ing in all likelihood older divisions — probably originated 
the subsequent manorial apportionments of the parish. 
After the Dissolution the chief manor, Hatherleigh proper, 
passed to the Arscotts. Hatherleigh Moor, the manor 
waste, belongs to the inhabitants, and it is the common 

Holsworthy and Hatherleigh. 163 

belief among them that this comes of the gift of John of 
Gaunt, who executed the conveyance in the rhyme : 

* I, John of Gaunt, 
Do give and do grant 
Hatherleigh Moor 
To Hatherleigh poor 
For evermore/ 

And this is all that there is to be said of Hatherleigh, 
beyond the fact that it gave birth to John Mayne, dramatist 
and theologian (1604-72). 

Holsworthy, the other town of the district, has a some- 
what better claim to notice. The market is one of great 
antiquity ; and the chief fair was recorded in the time of 
Edward I. as having belonged to the ancestors of William 
Martyn from time immemorial. Holsworthy was held for 
the King in 1646, and occupied by Fairfax, after his 
capture of Torrington ; but apparently without a contest. 
Probably the Haldeword, which Harold held before the 
Conquest and William afterwards, it had even then an 
enumerated population of 75. There is evidence also 
that it must have been of much greater importance in the 
Middle Ages than it has been since, in the fact that it had 
600 houseling people in 1547. The manor has been the 
property of several distinguished families. Henry H. 
gave it to Fulk Paganell, until he should be able to recover 
his own lands in Normandy. Afterwards it came to the 
Chaworths, thence to the Tracys, the Martyns, and 
the Audleys. Then it reverted to the Crown, and was 
held by royal grant in succession by John of Gaunt (and 
this may have been the association that linked his name 
with Hatherleigh tradition) John Holland, Duke of Exeter, 
and Margaret, Countess of Richmond. For a while it 
was in the Specotts and Prideauxes, and was sold by the 
latter to Thomas Pitt, Lord Londonderry, from whom it 
has descended to its present owner. Lord Stanhope. At 
Thome a family of that name were seated from the reign 

II — 2 

164 History of Devonshire. 

of King John till the early part of the seventeenth century. 
Here also is Arscott, which gave name to that ancient 
house, later of Tetcott. The ' church town ' of Holsworthy 
is now a thriving agricultural centre. 

Few of the adjoining parishes call for special mention. 
Ashbury has been the seat of the Morth-WooUcombes 
for some two centuries ; at Beaworthy a park was made 
about 1366 by Sir Nigel Loring, one of the first Knights 
of the Garter ; Abbots Bickington takes its distinctive 
name from being given by Geoffrey de Dinant to Hart- 
land Abbey; Bradworthy Church was the gift of Lord 
Briwere to the Abbey of Torre ; Bratton Clovelly disputes 
with Bratton Fleming, and Bracton Court near Mine- 
head in Somerset, the honour of being the birthplace of 
Henry de Bracton, Chief Justiciary under Henry HI., the 
celebrated writer on the laws and customs of England — 
* De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Anglise ' (d. circa 1268) — 
who lies buried in Exeter Cathedral ; Bridgerule is really 
Bridge Raoul, from its Norman owner, Ruald Adobed ; 
Broadwood Widger, named from the once prominent 
family of that name, belonged subsequently to Frithelstock 
Priory, while the manor of Mere Malherbe was given by Fitz 
Stephen to the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, and by 
its prior conveyed to the Abbey of Buckland in Somerset ; 
HoUacombe, like Newton St Petrock (the gift of iEt5elstan), 
was the property of Bodmin Priory ; Honey church gave 
name to a family which has ceased to be connected with 
it, but has only recently, if yet, become extinct ; Iddes- 
leigh was anciently the seat of the SuUys, the last of whom 
was Sir John Sully, who served at Halidon, Cressy, 
Poictiers, and in Spain, and at the reputed age of 105 (1387) 
gave evidence at his residence in the Scrope and Gros- 
venor controversy — he died soon after, and is said 
to have been buried at Crediton, but a figure of a 
Crusader at Iddesleigh is also assigned to him; In- 
wardleigh was an early settlement of the family of 

Holsworthy and Hatherleigh, 165 

Coffin ; Jacobstow, as Jacobescherche, is remarkable as 
being not only one of the * Devenescire * manors which 
did not change hands at the Conquest, but as belonging 
to a Saxon lady, Alveva, and as being the seat of a Saxon 
church ; Pancrasweek, which anciently belonged to the 
Briweres, was given by William Lord Briwere to Torre 
Abbey, and, like the next manor, recalls a dedication of 
the British Church ; Petrockstow was part of the posses- 
sions of the Abbey of Buckfast, mentioned as such in 
* Domesday ' — ^the park of Heanton Satchville belongs to 
Lord Clinton, whose seat is in the adjoining parish of 
Huish, once possessed by the bearers of that ancient 
name ; Shebbear was formerly in the Nevilles, and John 
Alvethol held lands here by the service of holding the 
King's stirrup whenever he should come into the lordship ; 
Sheepwash, adjoining, was of old a market -town ; Tet- 
cott was the last seat of the family of Arscott, who died 
out in the male line in 1788, and were succeeded by the 
Molesworths ; Werrington was the chief manor of the 
Abbey of Tavistock. 

Winkleigh has claims to a more detailed notice. In 
the first place, the parish forms a hundred of itself ; and 
in the second, it was part of the honour of Gloucester. 
Before the Conquest, it was held by Brictric, who suc- 
ceeded his father, Algar, in the Gloucester earldom ; and, 
like other possessions of that unlucky Saxon, passed to 
William's Queen. * Domesday * notes it an important 
manor, with 40 ploughlands, and an enumerated popula- 
tion of 76. Moreover, it contained the only park entered 
for Devon. Upon Matilda's deaths Rufus became the 
lord ; and, shortly after his accession, gave the manor to 
Robert Fitz Hamon. By the marriage of Fitz Hamon's 
daughter, Mabel, to Robert Fitzroy, illegitimate son of 
Henry I., the estates of the earldom of Gloucester passed 
to him, and the title followed. Winkleigh was early 
divided into the two manors of Winkleigh Keynes and 

1 66 History of Devonshire. 

Winkleigh Tracy, named from their respective owners. 
The Earls of Gloucester still continued, hpwever, to 
retain some interest — at least, down to the fourteenth 
century. Risdon speaks of the existence of two castles 
here ; but there is no trace of either now, beyond a couple 
of mounds, which may have been the foundations ; and 
both manors were eventually for a time reunited in the 
family of Lethbridge. It is quite possible that one of 
those ' castles ' may have been the mansion at Up 
Holecombe, which Richard Inglish had the licence of 
the King to castellate about 1361, especially as one of 
the mounds above mentioned is very doubtful. And as 
William de Portu Mortuo obtained a charter for a market 
at HoUacombe village in 1260, the place must then have 
been of some little consequence. Indeed, Winkleigh is 
sometimes called a borough town. Southcote, another 
estate in the parish, appears to have given name to the 
Soutjicote family. Winkleigh Church was given to the 
Abbey of Tewkesbury by one of the Fitzroys, and it had 
a Guild of St. Nicholas. The Rev. Wm. Davey, who 
died vicar of Winkleigh in 1826, is remarkable for having, 
while curate of Lustleigh, written and printed with his 
own hands a system of divinity in twenty-six volumes, 
working fourteen copies only. 



Insignificant as Okehampton has been for many a long 
year, deriving its sole importance since the days of the 
Stuarts from its position on the high-road into Cornwall, 
and losing even that when the construction of the Great 
Western Railway diverted the course of traffic, there are 
few towns in Devon associated with more distinguished 
names. It is signalized in ' Domesday ' as the one manor 
in Devon stated to possess a castle. Moreover, it had a 
mill and a market ; and, in addition to 50 villeins, serfe, 
and bordars, 4 burgesses. Though not one of the four 
boroughs of the county, it had, therefore, a definitely 
town-like character in the modem sense. How much of 
this importance it enjoyed under its Saxon lord. Offers, is 
doubtful ; for, though his timbered ' strength ' may have 
been the nucleus, there is no ancient town in Devon that 
seems more thoroughly the creation of its castle, the 
only really defensible spot it possessed. 

Baldwin the Sheriff, or Baldwin de Redvers (otherwise 
De Sap, or De Brioniis), was the most important feudal 
lord in Devon. No fewer than 181 manors fell to his 
share in this county alone ; and from among them all he 
selected ' Ochementone ' (far more closely preserved in 
the still current ' Ockington * of the natives than in the 
polite and utterly unetymological Okehampton) for his 

1 68 History of Devonshire, 

chief residence. Ninety-two fees were held of this barony. 
Here in the centre of his domains, in the very heart of 
Devon, commanding the passes to the north and west of 
Dartmoor, and dominating the district far away to the 
Severn Sea, he reared his castle. None of his masonry 
remains ; but the site is that which he chose, the mound 
is that which he scarped and isolated from the hillside, 
of which it formed a rocky spur ; and the surroundings 
have changed little from the day when the square Norman 
keep first frowned upon the brawling waters of the rapid 
Ockment in the valley below. 

For a time the house of Redvers flourished. Not only 
did they hold the chief barony of Devon in Okehampton, 
not only were they hereditary castellans of Exeter, and 
sheriffs of the county ; but Richard, son of Baldwin, by 
his faithful adherence to Henry I., gained the town of 
Tiverton, and the honour of Plympton. His son, 
Baldwin, espoused the cause of Matilda, and was driven 
from the kingdom, with the loss of all his great posses- 
sions. Yet it was not long ere the De Redverses were 
reinstated in their honours and estates; and it was by 
marriage with Mary, daughter of William de Verona, 
sixth Redvers Earl, the coheiress of that great family, 
that the historic house of Courtenay became not only 
lords of Okehampton, but eventually obtained the 
earldom of Devon they again so worthily enjoy. With 
occasional intermissions of forfeiture, the Courtenays 
held Okehampton, from the death of Isabella de Fortibus 
in 1292, until the death of Edward Courtenay in 1556. 

Robert de Courtenay is said to have made Okehampton 
a free borough in the reign of Henry IH. He can only, 
however, have affirmed and extended pre-existing rights. 
Representatives were sent to ParUament as early as 
28th Edward I. ; but the town was not incorporated by 
royal charter until 1623, and portreeve and mayor long 
existed side by side, the custom being for the same 

Okehampton. 1 69 

burgess to be chosen to fill both offices. From 7th 
Edward II. until 1640 the town ceased to elect members ; 
then it resumed and continued until finally extinguished 
in 1832. There are two corporate seals. One, pre- 
sumably attached to the office of portreeve, bears for 
device a triple towered castle ; the municipal seal has a 
cornucopia, charged with an escutcheon, bearing the Red- 
vers arms. A new corporation was chartered in 1885. 

Brightley was the original seat of the Cistercians of 
Ford Abbey, which they found it impossible to colonize 

The value of Okehampton as a strategic point entailed 
many inconveniences and no little loss in the course of 
the wars between Charles and the Parliament. Troops 
of both parties occupied in turn, and it was never free 
long together from the presence of one or the other. 
Charles himself, Maurice, Essex, Goring, Richard 
Grenville, Fairfax, and several minor commanders, held 
possession at various times ; but it was never the scene 
of actual conflict. The nearest fighting was a hotly 
contested affair in May, 1643, between Chudleigh and 
Hopton and Grenville, at Meldon, in Bridestowe, 
memorable for being fought by night in a storm of wind 
and rain. Chudleigh had somewhat the advantage ; but 
the defeat of the Earl of Stamford followed too closely 
to render the victory of any avail. Okehampton Castle 
had been dismantled by Henry VIII., or in all probability 
an effort would have been made to hold it. Okehampton 
Park is still the name of the ancient demesne skirting 
Dartmoor ; but it was disparked and alienated by 
Henry VIII. 

Bridestowe, the adjoining parish to the south-west, was 
held at the time of the Domesday Survey by Ralph 
de Pomeroy, ancestor of the great house of Pomeroy, 
under Baldwin. The name is really a corruption of 
Bridgetstowe, the church being dedicated to that saint. 

1 70 History of Devonshire. 

and thus marking the site of a pre-Norman foundation. 
Sampford Courtenay, which lies to the north-east, has 
been already noted as the place where the Western Re- 
bellion for the restoration of Roman Catholicism had its 
rise. It was a parcel of the barony of Okehampton. 

North Tawton, a market-town of considerable antiquity 
and of old time a borough, retained its portreeve as a 
memorial of former importance, though the prefix has 
long been dropped which gave it claim to rank with 
Great Torrington as a Saxon market — Cheping or Chipping 
Tawton. This may be taken as some guide to its identi- 
fication in * Domesday.' It was certainly held by William ; 
but whether it was the Tavyetone which had 3 serfs, 
31 villeins, and 33 bordars, or the Tavetone which had 
belonged to G3^ha, with its 12 serfs, 50 villeins, and 
30 bordars, there is very little direct evidence. The 
greater importance of the latter would indeed seem to 
make it likely that this was North Tawton, and Tavyetone 
South Tawton ; but though at first sight the former iden- 
tification would appear almost certain from the fact that 
while Tavetone is associated in * Domesday' with the 
smaller manor of Ashe, there is still extant in North 
Tawton the estate of -^sAridge; oddly enough, we find 
that at South Tawton we have the alias of Eastash. 

North Tawton was one of the possessions of the famous 
family of Valletort, to whom a market-grant was made in 
1270. It came by coheiresses to the Champemownes, 
from whom it descended to the St. Legers and Woods 
(or Atwoods) who lived at Ashridge several generations. 

The barton of Bath is associated with a notable piece 
of folk-lore. It was the name, place, and seat of the 
family of Bath, De Bath, or Bathon — a house sometime 
ot much note. Of this stock was Sir Henry Bath, Justice 
Itinerant to Henry III., who was charged with corruption 
in his ofiice, and respecting whom Henry is said to have 

Okehampton, ^^ 171 

declared at his trial, ' Whosoever shall kill Henry de Bath 
shall be quit of his death, and I do hereby acquit him.' 
However, Bath was fortunate enough not only to be 
taken into favour again, but to be made Chief Justice of 
the King's Bench. He died in 1261. The point of folk- 
lore raised is not unique, which makes it the more curious. 
There is at Bath a large pit or excavation, which under 
ordinary circumstances is perfectly dry, but becomes 
filled with water, by an intermittent spring, before any 
great national event or family calamity. This is said to 
have occurred in recent days, immediately before the 
death of the Duke of Wellington. As Bath is the Saxon 
haeihy * water,' probably this phenomenon has continued 
for many centuries, and gave name to the estate. 

North Tawton is one of the very few centres of the 
woollen manufacture which retains its trade. It possesses 
a very large woollen factory which has always kept pace 
with the times, and thus illustrates what might have been 
done if masters and men had been everywhere equally 
well advised to keep the ancient trade in the county. 

The leading manor of South Tawton was once in the 
Beaumonts, being granted by Henry I. to Roselm Beau- 
mont, Viscount de Mayne, whose granddaughter brought 
it to Roger de Tony. This family appear to have made 
the village of South Zeal (= Saxon, sell^ a dwelling) the 
borough which it is occasionally described as being, for 
Robert de Tony had a grant of a market and fairs there 
in 1298. Tantifer, Chiseldon, and Wadham are also 
ancient names in connection with the descent of South 
Tawton Manor. 

A far more remarkable piece of Devonshire folk-lore 
than that just noted is associated with this parish of 
South Tawton — *the Oxenham omen' — every fact in 
relation to which has recently been collected with the 
minutest care by Mr. R. W. Cotton. Oxenham here gave 

172 History of Devonshire^ 

name to a family of repute, one of whose members was 
John Oxenham, of Plymouth, the first Englishman who 
sailed on the Pacific, a comrade of Drake at Nombre de 
Dios, who eventually fell into the hands of the Spaniards 
and was by them executed as a pirate — one of the bravest 
and most unfortunate of the great seamen of Elizabethan 
Devon. The * omen ' consists in the appearance of a 
* bird' with a white breast,' or of a white bird, before the 
deaths of members of the family. The earliest record of 
this apparition refers to the year 1618 ; but in 1641 what 
is now a rare pamphlet was published, detailing four 
appearances before the deaths of four members of a 
branch of the Oxenhams, settled at Zeal Monachorum, in 
1635. The tradition continues in the family, where the 
reality of the appearances is not doubted, though * no 
decided conviction obtains as to their cause.' Recent 
instances of the * omen ' are quoted in connection, the 
most remarkable of which was the appearance of a white 
bird outside the windows of a house in Kensington a week 
before the death of Mr. G. N. Oxenham, then head of the 
family, in 1873. The bird refused for some minutes to be 
driven away, and a sound like the fluttering of wings is 
stated to have been heard in the bedroom. Probably this 
belief in the white bird of the Oxenhams is associated in 
some way with the wide-spread superstition that the flying 
of birds around a house and tapping against the window, 
or resting on the sill, portends death. Mr. Cotton inclines 
to the belief that the solution of the problem may be 
'physiological . . . and that heredity ^ of the force and 
effects of which we have probably little conception, and 
the marvellous instincts of animals, of which we know so 
little, are the keys to it.' Zeal Monachorum, by the way, 
takes its distinctive name from having been given by Cnut 
to Buckfastleigh Abbey, 


Ubi lapsus, quid feci ? might well be the motto of the 
little town of Lydford, one of the oldest boroughs in all 
broad Devon, populous and wealthy long before the 
Norman Conquest — almost the rival of Exeter, as we see 
it first emerging from the mists of antiquity — now the mere 
shadow of a shade. Some scattered houses, a few green 
mounds, a crumbling ruin — these are modern Lydford — 
all we have left beside a few legends and tattered memories 
ef former greatness : a few scattered entries that make up 
the sum-total of a history which extends over more than 
ten centuries. No town or village in the West teaches 
the mournful lesson — vanitas vanitatum — so thoroughly as 
Lydford. We are even left to guess at the cause of its 

Like Exeter, we have in Lydford an ancient British 
settlement ; but, unlike Exeter, one cast down from its 
high estate. Approach it from any quarter, save where 
the bridge of later days spans the chasm of the Lyd, and 
the strength of the position is seen at once. So environed 
is it with moor and bog, with hill and ravine, that in 
ancient days there was but one mode of access, and that 
most exposed and circuitous. The village stands upon a 
tongue of land, bounded and defended towards the south 
by the deep and, in old days, impassable gorge of the Lyd ; 

1 74 History of Devonshire. 

on the north by the ravine of a tributary of that river. 
Northward and southward therefore, and on the angle to 
the west, the natural strength of the position in days of 
primitive warfare was enormous ; and all that was needed 
was to guard the approach from the higher ground to the 
east. This was done by the construction of a line of 
earthworks, yet traceable, though never observed until 
their existence was recorded by the writer, from one 
valley or ravine to the other. 

Although Lydford finds no place in history until Anglo- 
Saxon times, it then appears as a town that had some 
antiquity to boast. Its importance is shown by the fact 
that it was the seat of a Saxon mint, sharing that honour 
in Devon with Exeter and Totnes. Lydford pennies are 
extant of the reign of -^^elred the Unready, Cnut, Harold 
Harefoot, and possibly of Eadweard the Confessor and 
the second Harold. Its earlier antiquity is indicated 
not only by the earthworks of the Kelts, but by the Keltic 
dedication of its church to St. Petrock ; and, while the 
font in the existing church is probably Saxon, there is 
some reason to regard the north wall of that fabric as of 
at least equal age. 

It is under the reign of iEtSelred that Lydford first ap- 
pears in the pages of history. The ' Saxon Chronicle ' 
records how, in 997, the Danes made a raid up the Tamar 
and Tavy until they came to Hlidaforda, burning and 
slaying everything they met ; burning Ordulf s minster at 
iEtefingstoc (Tavistock), and bringing back to their ships 
incalculable plunder. Whether the passage implies the 
capture of Lydford by the Norsemen, to whom its mint 
must have been a great attraction, or whether we are to 
infer that it proved the barrier to their inroad, is not 
certain. If taken and spoiled, recovery must have been 
speedy, for * Domesday ' ranks Lydford one of the four 
Saxon boroughs of Devon — with Exeter, Barnstaple, and 
Totnes — and as doing equal service. The most significant 

Lydfprd. 175 

* Domesday ' entry, however, is the statement that forty 
houses had been laid waste in Lydford since the Conqueror 
came to England. Prior to 1066, therefore, it is evident 
that Lydford must have been the most populous centre 
in Devon, Exeter alone excepted. 

History is silent as to the cause of this devastation of 
Lydford, but there seems every reason to believe that it 
was connected in some way with the Conquest, and that 
it probably arose from the resistance which the sturdy 
little borough offered to the Norman arms. Exeter, while 
resisting, as we have seen, gave way in time, and was 
spared. William may have deemed it desirable to make 
an example of Lydford, though more merciful even here 
than in the Northern counties. 

Lydford never thoroughly recovered this blow ; though, 
as it remained the head of the Forest of Dartmoor, and 
was subsequently appointed the prison of the Stannaries of 
Devon, it retained some importance in the Middle Ages, 
particularly in the early part of the thirteenth century. 
Thus, when Edward L summoned his first Parliament, 
Lydford was one of the boroughs to which writs were 

The Castle of Lydford, in part at least Late Norman, 
dates from the latter part of the twelfth century. The 
Keltic earthworks were continued as defences by the 
Saxons. There was no place within the circuit of supreme 
command whereon to plant a citadel to dominate the 
whole. Okehampton traces its origin to the castle near 
which it grew — here the castle is the child of the town. 
The building is a true keep, wholly differing in character 
from the shell keeps which, as at Plympton and Totnes, 
were planted by the Normans upon the mounds of the 
elder * strengths ' ; and it was of peculiar importance as 
one of the border fortresses by which the roads skirting 
Dartmoor were commanded. The earliest traceable 
mention of the castle in history is its grant, J uly 31st, 1216, 


1 76 History of Devonshire. 

to William Briwere to be held during pleasure. A cen- 
tury later (1305) it is named as the prison of the Stan- 

Lydford law has the same bad proverbial reputation as 
Jeddart justice ; and the rhymes of William Browne of 
Tavistock, one of the sweetest of English pastoral poets, 
are familiar far beyond the precincts of the county : 

* I oft have heard of Lydford law, 
How in the morn they bang and draw, 

And sit in judgment after. 
At first I wondered at it much, 
But now I find their reason such 

That it deserves no laughter.* 

The piece is one of the most humorous topographical 
poems in existence. The castle is likened to 

' An old windmill, 

The vanes blown off by weather. 

« • • • • 

* If any could devise by art 
To get it up into a cart, 

'Twere fit to carry lions !* 

Besides the castle we are told 

' There is a bridge, there is a church, 
Seven ashes and an oak ; 

Three houses standing and ten down. 

• * * « * 

* One told me, " In King Caesar's time 
The town was built of stone and lime " — 

But sure the walls were clay ; 
For they are falFn for aught I see, 
And since the houses are got free, 

The town is run away.' 

As to the neighbourhood and its denizens : 

* This town 's enclosed with desert moors, 
But where no bear nor lion roars, 

And nought can live but hogs ; 
For all overturned by Noah's flood, 
Of fourscore miles scarce one foot's good. 

And hills are wholly bogs. 

Lydford. 177 

* And near hereto 's the Gubbins* cave, 
A people that no knowledge have 

Of law, of God, or men : 
Whom Caesar never yet subdued ; 
Who lawless live, of manners rude, 

All savage in their den.* 

Fuller gives a description of these Gubbinses, utilized 
by Kingsley in * Westward Ho !' and the surname sur- 
vives in the district, and in the saying ' Greedy Gubbins.* 

Many have been the attempts to account for the origin 
of * Lydford law.' Local tradition avers that it origi- 
nated in the cruelty of Jeffries during the Bloody Assize, 
and that his ghost haunts the castle in the shape of a 
black pig. But the Bloody Assize stopped short of Lyd- 
ford, and the saying is far older than the days of Monmouth. 
Browne wrote his rhymes when he visited Lydford to see 
his friend, the Roundhead Colonel Hals, imprisoned there 
by the brutal Sir Richard Grenville. But Browne had 
often heard of the proverb, and it did not originate 
with him. It has been usual to trace it to the practice of 
the Stannary Courts, and to connect it with the case of 
Richard Strode, imprisoned at Lydford as an offender 
against the Stannary Laws in the reign of Henry VIII. ; 
but Strode^was certainly incarcerated by process of law, and 
by no means * hung first and tried after.' Moreover, there 
seems to be very fair ground for holding that, in the line of 
action which led to his imprisonment. Strode was actuated 
rather by personal motives, and was not, as most of the 
county histof ians have assumed without inquiring into 
the facts, a martyr for the public good. Be that as it 
may, his detention in the * hainous, contagious, and detest- 
able' dungeon pit of Lydford, now open to the day withir 
the castle walls, led to the declaration of the right of 
Parliamentary free speech. Strode was member for 
Plympton ; the sentence against him was annulled by 
Act of Parliament, on the assumption that he was prose- 


X 78 History of Devonshire. 

cuted for preventing the tinners from injuring creeks and 
harbours ; and it was declared in that statute that all pro- 
ceedings against members of Parliament *for any bill, 
speaking, reasoning, or declaring of any matters * in Par- 
liament, should be void and of none effect. 

In any case the experience of Strode could not origi- 
nate ' Lydford law ;' for the expression occurs in a poem, 
assigned by Mr. T. Wright, on internal evidence, to 1399 : 

* Now be the law of LydfFord 
in londe ne in water.' 

We thus get an antiquity of at least five hundred years, 
and come too near to the establishment of the Stannary 
Prison to look to the maladministration of the Stannary 
Laws for the origin of the phrase. It is highly probable, 
therefore, that we must seek it in the fact that the Forest 
Courts of Dartmoor were held at Lydford, and the in- 
tolerable Forest Laws there administered. From the 
peculiar character of these laws, it was quite possible for 
the Chief Warden — whose post, as Sir C. S. Maine notes, 
was executive rather than judicial — to inflict summary 
punishment, and yet for the case to be inquired into at 
the Court of Swainmote, and not adjudicated on for three 
years at the Court of Justice Seat. 

From the time of the Commonwealth down to the early 
part of the last century, the castle was in ruins. It was 
then restored, and used as a prison and as the meeting- 
place of the Manor and Borough Courts until the founda- 
tion of Princetown. But Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt moved 
the courts to his new capital of the Moor, and Lydford 
Castle fell into deeper decay than ever. 

As a municipal borough, Lydford continued to possess 
and exercise many rights and privileges until comparatively 
recent times. The election of mayor ceased about the 
middle of the last century, and the corporate insignia 
have disappeared. The borough coroner was invariably 
* the oldest and most grey-headed man in the place.' 



Few places in Devon have a greater antiquity than 
Tavistock, if we take the Saxon period into chief account. 
The ' stock ' of the Tavy was the most important settle- 
ment made by the Saxons on that river, and long before 
the Conquest it assumed the characteristics of a provincial 
centre of population and wealth. It was remarkable, until 
1885, as being the only Parliamentary existing borough 
in the county not municipal; for it had never received 
any charter of incorporation, although it had been repre- 
sented since the 23rd of Edward I. ; and it retained as 
its chief officer the ancient Saxon portreeve, elected by 
the voices of his fellow -freeholders. The old village 
commune of the earliest Teutonic settlers had therefore 
direct succession in Tavistock. But even this does not 
fully indicate the antiquity of organized human settlement 
in the vicinity. 

It is a fact that must have a meaning, if this can only be 
delined, that nearly all the ancient inscribed stones oi 
Devon are found upon one parallel in the south-west of 
the county, between Stowford on the north and Yealmpton 
on the south, the line passing through Tavistock as a kind 
of centre. These all give token of ecclesiastical influence; 
and two, by the Ogham writing which they bear, proof 
also of Irish intercourse. They probably indicate there- 

1 80 History of Devonshire. 

fore a period of active mission-work on the part of the 
Irish Church, somewhere about the latter part of the fifth 
and first half of the sixth century. 

Of six such monuments found upon the line noted, 
three will be found within the vicarage garden at Tavi- 
stock, placed there by an enthusiastic antiquary of the 
past generation — the Rev. E. A. Bray. Two of these 
stones came firom Buckland Monachorum. One, which 
stood in a field, bears the inscription in Roman characters 


— the reading adopted by Mr. C. Spence Bate. This 
latter word is repeated as * Nabarr ' in Ogham, and it is a 
singular fact that the stone supplied the last letter want- 
ing — * b ' — to the completion of Dr. Ferguson's South 
British Ogham alphabet. The second Buckland Mona- 
chorum stone was found by Mr. Bray in use as the support 
of the roof of a blacksmith's shop. Here the legend is, 
' SABiNi FILI MACCODECHETi.' The third, which had been 
adapted as a foot-bridge over a little stream near Tavi- 
stock, appears to run, ' neprani fili conbevi,' though the 
last word has been read * condevi.' 

Of the other three inscribed stones of this group the 
most interesting was found lying across a brook near 
Fardel, Cornwood, and is now in the British Museum. 
This is also bilingual, with the legend both in Roman and 
in Ogham characters, slightly varied. It was the first 
stone found in England with an Ogham inscription. The 
legend runs, ' sangranvi fanoni maqvirini.' 

The Stowford stone stands in Stowford churchyard, a 
sepulchral monument, which appears to commemorate a 
certain * guniglei.' The lettering is very rude and peculiar, 
and the reading quite uncertain. This version, by Mr. 
C. Spence Bate, seems, however, the most probable ; and 
certainly commends itself much more than the * gurgles ' 
of Professor Hubner. The chief interest about this stone 
lies in the fact that, like the kindred memorial at Yealmpton 

Tavistock. 1 8 1 

to * TOREVS ' or ' GOREVS ' (of which more anon), we find it 
in a churchyard ; and, so far as appears, upon its original 
site. Lustleigh, as we shall see, affords another illustration 
of this ; though, from the fact that the stone there has 
been diverted from its original purpose, by no means of so 
marked a character. 

But the history of Tavistock itself begins with the 
establishment of the Abbey of St. Rumon. Ordulf, son of 
Orgar, Ealdorman of Devon, is the reputed founder. He 
is one of the semi-mythic heroes of the Saxon race who 
may be found in almost every county, a man of amazing 
strength — a giant, whose sport it was to stride a stream 
and cut off with one blow of his hunting-knife the heads 
of animals brought him for the purpose. He was com- 
manded to build the Abbey in a vision, and his wife was 
guided by an angel to the site. There is thus ample 
room for discriminating criticism as to the circumstances 
attending the foundation, even if we ignore the counter 
tradition that it was the joint .work of Ordulf 's father, 
Orgar, and himself. This much, however, does seem 
certain, that the Abbey was founded about the year 961 ; 
and that in 997 it was destroyed by the Danes during the 
inroad in which they carried fire and sword from the 
mouth of the Tamar to Lydford. The monastery must 
then have been of great size and very wealthy, though we 
may reject the statement that Ordulf s magnificence made 
it large enough for 1,000 men. It had, however, come 
under royal patronage. Ordulf s sister was that iElfryth 
(or Elfrida) whose career forms one of the most notable 
features of Anglo-Saxon annals. Though familiar, her 
story forms part of Devonian history, and falls into place 
here. Eadgar, hearing of the beauty of Elfrida, sent 
-^t$elwold to view, with instructions to report if rumour 
spoke truth, to the intent that if it did he might make her 
his queen. Instead of securing her for his master the 
unlucky noble fell in love with her himself, and, disparaging 

1 82 History of De7)onshire. 

her to the King, easily gained his monarch's consent. At 
length Eadgar visited Devon, and iEt$elwold, fearing the 
consequences of his deceit, implored his wife to besmirch 
her loveliness for awhile. She, finding that whereas she 
was simply the wife of a noble she might have been 
a queen, resented the fraud, and heightened her attractions 
to the utmost of her power. The King came, saw, and 
was overcome. JEtSelwold was conveniently killed by 
accident while hunting the following day with the monarch, 
we may presume on Dartmoor, and his widow mounted 
the throne. Her sons were Eadmund and JEtSelred, and 
after the murder of his half-brother, Eadweard the Martyr, 
by Elfrida's orders, at Corfe Castle, the latter succeeded 
to the crown, and became the liberal patron of the Abbey 
of Tavistock. To this connection was due the fact that 
after its destruction by the Danes the Abbey was rebuilt 
with so much greater grandeur that it eclipsed every 
religious house in Devon, in the extent, convenience, and 
magnificence of its buildings. 

It was fortunate, too, in its early heads. Lyfing, who 
from his eloquence obtained the title of ' Wordsnotera,' 
and in whom the Sees of Devon and Cornwall were 
united at Crediton, was one of them. His successor was 
iiEldred, afterwards Archbishop of York, who crowned 
William the Conqueror. The final dedication was to St. 
Mary and St. Rumon. 

' Domesday ' places Tavistock Abbey far at the 
head of the religious houses in Devon, in the extent 
and value of its estates. Fourteen manors, besides a 
house at Exeter, were its landed possessions ; and the 
total annual value is set down at £^l, los. 7d. A note- 
worthy fact also is that the Abbey had several military 
tenants, some of whom may have been among the thanes 
by whom the lands so held were occupied in Saxon times. 
Tavistock itself had an enumerated population, exclusive 
of the monks and their five military tenants, of 79, and 

Tavistock. 183 

was therefore the most populous place in the district at the 
time the Survey was taken. To make its importance fully 
apparent, however, other manors immediately adjacent 
would have to be taken into account. There were a 
dozen residents on that of Wrdiete, now Hurdwick, close 
to the town ; while the next manor of Mideltone, now 
Milton Abbot, had another fifty. Thus liberally endowed 
at the time of the Conquest, the Abbey throve even more 
mightily afterwards, for its possessions were so enlarged 
by several liberal benefactors, that, while they do not seem 
to have been always stewarded most heedfuUy — and in 
fact the monks in the fourteenth century bore a bad repu- 
tation for luxury, gluttony, and laziness — its revenues 
were valued at the Dissolution at £902 5s. 7d. 

In 1458 the abbot was mitred, and in 1514 Henry VIII. 
put the finishing-touch to the Abbey's glories by calling its 
head, Richard Banham, to the House of Lords as Baron 
Hurdwick, while Pope Leo X. granted the same dignitary 
a bull exempting the Abbey from episcopal jurisdiction. A 
quarter of a century later came the surrender ; and the 
site of the Abbey and its estates passed to John Russell, 
ancestor of the Earls and Dukes of Bedford, by whom 
they have ever since been enjoyed. 

That Devonshire should be one of the first counties in 
England into which the art of printing was introduced, is 
due to the enterprise and zeal for learning of the monks of 
Tavistock, in their later mended ways. Only two works 
from this early Tavistock press now exist ; but as the first 
of these is dated 1525, and the second 1534, they must 
have produced much more than these two fragments. 
The earliest is a copy of Boethius's * Consolations of 
Philosophy,' as translated by Walton of Osney : * Em- 
prented in the exempt monastery of Tauestok, in I>en- 
shyre. By me, Dan Thomas Rychard, Monke of the sayde 
Monastery. To the instant desire of the ryght Worshyp- 
ful esquyer, Mayster Robert Langdon.* Langdon was a 

f 84 History of Devonshire. 

Cornishman, of Keverell, in St. Martins-by-Looe. The 
other extant publication of the Tavistock press is a copy 
of the ' Statutes of the Stannaries.' 

The remains of the Abbey are far from affording any 
adequate idea of its former magnificence, thanks chiefly 
to the iconoclastic work of a last century vandal named 
Saunders, who built on part of the site, and with the 
materials, the Abbey House, which is now the Bedford 
Hotel. The east gate — essentially of late twelfth-century 
work, with fifteenth-century additions, however — still 
remains, with the western gateway, commonly called 
Betsy Grimbal's Tower, the tradition being that a nun of 
that name was murdered there. There are also the 
refectory, now used as the Unitarian chapel, its groined 
porch being converted into a dairy attached to the Bedford 
Hotel ; a fragment of the north wall of the great Abbey 
Church, sometimes called Ordulph's Tomb, and at other 
times Childe's (of whom more anon) ; and the boundary 
walls next the Tavy, with a tower which has always been 
known as the Still House. The fragment of the Abbey 
Church is in the churchyard of the parish church of St. 
Eustatius ; but the site of the Abbey Church itself is now 
part of the public street. 

The Russells have ever been the most liberal of land- 
lords. Every improvement made in Tavistock has been 
carried out by the Duke for the time being, * regardless 
of expense,' with a taste as well as a liberality that have 
resulted in making the little town — so far as its main 
thoroughfares go — the handsomest of its size in the West of 
England. The venerable parish church, and the yet more 
venerable Abbey, have governed the style adopted in the 
erection of the chief public buildings, which are all gathered 
to one centre ; and much expense has been incurred in 
the removal of structures which did not harmonize with 
the prevailing mediaeval character. At the same time 
all that was worthy of preservation has been fully kept. 

Tavistock. 185 

The gatehouse of the mansion of the Fitzes of Fitzford, 
noted in local history as the scene of a duel between Sir 
John Fitz and Sir Nicholas Slanning, in which the latter 
was killed, had to be removed, but it was carefully rebuilt ; 
and close by now stands the latest gift to the town of its 
ducal lords, a magnificent statue of Tavistock's most dis- 
tinguished son, Sir Francis Drake, by Boehm. Most of 
the new public edifices, too, are built of the same material 
as the old, a free- working green volcanic ash from Hurd- 
wick. This is seen to special advantage in the buildings 
of the Kelly College, founded on a site given by the 
Russells, from a bequest of the late Admiral Kelly. 

Tavistock is the chief mining centre in Devon, and was 
one of the Stannary towns. Near it are the Devon 
Consols Mines, which commenced with a capital of £1,000, 
reworking an abandoned shaft, and immediately struck a 
lode of copper so rich that nearly a million and a quarter 
were paid in dividends. Not far off is Kingston Down, 
of which it was said in old time : 

* Kingston Down, well y-wrought, 

Is worth London town, dear y-bought.' 

But the modem operations in its mines have not borne 
out the promise of the rhyme. Kingston was the scene 
of the defeat of the Danes and their Cornish allies by 
Eadgar, and of this it is said in Tavistock : 

* The blood that flowed down West Street 
Would heave a stone a pound weight.' 

Tavistock threw in its lot with the Parliament in the 
Civil War of the seventeenth century. A town which had 
chosen the famous Pym for representative, and which 
had the Earl of Bedford for lord, would hardly do other. 
At the commencement of the struggle in the West, Sir 
George Chudleigh raised some troops here ; and after the 
defeat of Ruthven at Bradock Down, Stamford retired on 
Tavistock, but left it for Plymouth on the approach of the 

1 86 History of Devonshire. 

Royalist forces, who in their turn made it their head- 
quarters. Having no defences, it was never made a 
garrison, but served as a convenient station on the way 
to Cornwall, for whichever side might for the time be 

Prince Charles held a council here in December, 1645, 
which proved the last attempt of the Cavaliers to make 
head in the West. Exeter was then besieged by the 
Roundheads ; but the Puritans of Plymouth were kept in 
check by a blockade under Colonel Digby ; and, on the 
arrival of a large reinforcement of trained bands from 
Cornwall, it was agreed to march upon Totnes, and use 
that town as a base of operations for the relief of Exeter. 
The march was about to commence when news came of 
the advance of Fairfax and Cromwell, and a hasty retreat 
was beat to Launceston. 

The Royalist leader most closely connected with Tavi- 
stock was Sir Richard Grenville. His first association 
with Tavistock was as the claimant of Fitzford House, in 
right of Lady Howard, his wife, the heiress of the Fitz 
family. This house was the occasion of the only fighting 
Tavistock at this time saw ; being held for the King and 
taken by Essex on his way into Cornwall in 1644. The 
defeat of Essex proved Sir Richard's opportunity ; for he 
added to his wife's estates of Fitzford and Walreddon 
those of the Earl of Bedford and Sir Francis Drake, con- 
fiscated by Charles, so that not only Tavistock itself but 
a wide extent of surrounding country fell into his hands. 
His wife, however, contrived to rescue her portion ; and 
the Bedford and Drake estates went back to their original 
owners when the Parliament gained the upper hand. 

Lady Howard had been married three times, before the 
Duke of Buckingham prevailed with her on behalf of 
Grenville ; and she was so well alive to her own interests, 
that she settled her estates beyond the power of Grenville 
to control. His violence when he discovered this led to 


Tavistock. 187 

his being fined heavily in the Star Chamber, and in default 
committed to the Fleet, whence he escaped to Holland. 
On the breaking out of the Civil War, he naturally took 
the Royalist side, as his wife inclined to the Parliament, 
and, as a first reward of his loyalty, had a sequestration 
of her estates. The meanness of his character is illustrated 
by the fate of the unfortunate lawyer who had conducted 
the suit against him — Francis Brabant ; for he hung him 
as a spy. 

Tavistock sent two notable men to St. Stephen's. One, 
the great Pym, already mentioned ; who, with Strode 
— one of the family of Newnham, Plympton — Hampden, 
Holies, and Hazelrig, Charles I. sought to send to the 
Tower for their fearless defence of the rights of the people. 
The other, the unfortunate Lord William Russell, who 
perished on the scaffold in 1683, a martyr to the popular 
cause. Portraits of Pym and Russell, painted by Lady 
Arthur Russell, adorn the New Hall of the town, which 
contains the portraits of other local worthies by the same 

For its size, Tavistock has produced more distinguished 
men than any town in the county; and the neighbour- 
hood contains the ancient seats of many leading families 
of olden time. 

Chief of the worthies of Tavistock is the renowned Sir 
Francis Drake, born in a cottage at Crowndale, probably 
in the year 1539 ; but the date is uncertain, and all that 
is known of Drake's parentage is that his father was a 
clergyman. Drake is by no means an uncommon name 
in the neighbourhood and throughout South Devon, and 
all attempts to connect the Drakes of Tavistock with the 
line of Ashe have failed. The Tavistock Drakes appear 
to have been of the burgher class. The name occurs among 
the monks, and while Sir Francis's father was a clergy- 
man, a contemporary William Drake was vicar of Whit- 
church. Clerical position was, however, in those days no 

1 88 History of Devonshire. 

proof of family, and the nearest evidence of station we 
have is the record of a William Drake of Tavistock— temp. 
Henry VII. — who was a smith. The register of the 
name of Francis Drake as a Plymouth freeman, in 1570, 
shows that no claim was then made to descent or arms, 
the distinctions of rank being most scrupulously observed 
in that record. 

Francis Drake took to the sea, and made his first im- 
portant voyages under his kinsman, John Hawkins, after- 
wards the famous Sir John. Joint sufferers from the 
Spanish treachery at San Juan de Ulloa, in 1568, from that 
moment they waged unceasing war against Spain on their 
own account. Drake's first independent expedition was 
in 1572, when he took Nombre de Dios, Vera Cruz, and 
acquired great booty. In 1577 he sailed from Plymouth 
Sound on the most remarkable voyage ever undertaken by 
an English sailor. He had seen the Pacific while blocking 
up *the gulf of Mexico, for two years glorious with continual 
defeats,' and had resolved to sail thereon. So, with a squad- 
ron of five vessels, the largest the Pelican of 120 tons, he 
started to circumnavigate the globe. Nearly three years 
elapsed ere he returned. Desertion and disaffection broke 
up his little fleet ; but he persevered, and brought his vessel 
back to Plymouth, laden with treasure, on the 26th of 
September, 1580. Great was the rejoicing, and great the 
glory, for he had the honour of entertaining Elizabeth on 
board his famous ship at Deptford, and of receiving 
knighthood at her hands. In 1585 he did great damage 
to the Spaniards in the West Indies with a fleet of twenty- 
five sail; and in 1587 performed the exploit which he 
jocularly called * singeing the King of Spain's beard ' — with 
his fleet so ravaging the Spanish coast as to delay the 
sailing of the Armada for a year. When the Armada 
came he was the vice-admiral of the fleet which assembled 
in Plymouth Sound to await them, and which hounded 
the unlucky braggart Spaniards to their destruction up 

Tavistock. 1 89 

Channel. In August, 1595, Drake and John Hawkins 
sailed together from Plymouth in joint command of a fleet 
intended for the West Indies, which from the first was 
destined to failure. Hawkins died a few weeks after the 
ships sailed — ^partly of old age, partly of chagrin. Two 
months had not elapsed before Drake followed, from 
dysentery, produced in the first instance by the disasters 
which attended the expedition. 

William Browne, the poet, author of * Britannia's Pas- 
torals,' was bom at Tavistock in 1590. 

Kilworthy, now sadly modernized, is the ancient seat of 
the Glanvilles, of whom the first distinguished member is 
Sir John, Judge of the Common Pleas under Elizabeth. 
Either by him, or by his son, Kilworthy was built. A 
daughter of Judge Glanville has been regarded as the 
heroine of the once popular Elizabethan drama — * Page 
of Plymouth' — founded unhappily upon fact. Ulalia 
Glanville was attached to one George Strangwidge, but 
was married by her parents to an old and wealthy merchant 
of Plymouth, named Page. This unequal match led to 
the murder of the husband, and the wife and the lover 
and their accomplices were executed for the crime at 
Barnstaple. The event was made the theme of ballads 
and tales as well as of the play ; and the horror of the 
deed was heightened in the popular mind by the tradition 
that Judge Glanville himself pronounced the fatal sentence. 
It is a sufficient answer to this to show that Glanville did 
not become a judge until seven years after the murder ; 
but beyond this, Ulalia Page was not the daughter of the 
Judge, but of another member of the Glanville £amily who 
had removed from Tavistock to Plymouth; and from 
whom, in all probability, the once famous author of 
* Saducismus Triumphatus ' — ^Joseph Glanvill, Prebendary 
and F.R.S., born at Plymouth in 1636 (died 1680) — was 

Judge Glanville's second son John was another Tavi- 

I go History of Devonshire. 

stock worthy, who sat for several years in the House of 
Commons as member for Plymouth, and filled the difficult 
post of Speaker in the Parliament of 1640. When all 
hopes of a peaceful understanding were at an end, 
Glanville withdrew with the King to Oxford ; and, when 
the conflict was over, paid the penalty of his loyalty in 
imprisonment and fine. He lost a son, Francis Glanville, 
in the defence of Bridgewater in 1645. After the Restora- 
tion he was appointed King's Serjeant, and died in 1661. 
By the failure of the male line Kilworthy came to the 
Manatons, who are now also extinct. 

Another Tavistock worthy of the law was Sir John 
Maynard, said to have been born in a house that stood on 
the site of the Abbey. He was a man of note throughout 
the stirring days of the Stuarts and the Commonwealth, 
his long life covering the whole of the Stuart reigns until 
the final expulsion of the family and the accession of 
William of Orange. Born in 1602, he did not die until 
1690. William remarked, when he was presented at 
Court, that he must have outlived all the judges and 
eminent men of his day. ' Yes,' rejoined Maynard, * and 
I should have outlived the laws too, had it not been for 
the happy arrival of your Majesty.' Maynard was elected 
to the Long Parliament for Totnes and for Newport in 
Cornwall, but preferred Totnes, and took a prominent 
part in the debates of the house. He was engaged in the 
impeachments of Strafford and Laud, and sat in the 
Assembly of Divines ; but was sent to the Tower in 1647 
and 1653 for opposing Parliamentary measures. He 
pleaded strongly for the life of the King, and was too 
moderate a man for the temper of the times; but was 
elected in 1657 for Plymouth, of which town he had 
become recorder, in succession to his townsman Glanville, 
in 1640. At the Restoration he was again elected for 
Plymouth, and unseated as having been elected by the 
Mayor and Corporation, and not by the freemen. 

Tavistock. 191 

Charles II. then made him Serjeant-at-law, and knighted 
him ; and in 1679 he was returned for Plymouth un- 
questioned, and continued to sit for the town until the 
accession of James II., though displaced from the recorder- 
ship by Charles in 1684 in favour of John Grenville, Earl 
of Bath. Thenceforward, in spite of his age, Maynard 
proved a vigorous opponent of the royal policy — refused 
to take part in the persecution of the Seven Bishops, and 
became an ardent promoter of the Revolution. 

Brent Tor is a remarkable eminence, of volcanic aspect 
and origin, crowned by a quaint little church dedicated 
to St. Michael. This is said to have been erected by a 
merchant, who, in peril at sea, vowed, if saved, to build 
a church on the first point of land he saw. It is also 
associated with a local version of the common legend, 
that the site of the church was to have been at the 
bottom of the hill, but that in the night the materials 
were carried to the top. In some versions of this myth 
the conditions are reversed; and in all likelihood it is 
simply a survival of the antagonism between the old 
heathen faith in high places, grafted on a nominal Chris- 
tianity, and the more definite religious idea which would 
have nothing to do with places that had been profaned by 
idolatrous rites. The form of the legend would naturally 
depend upon the party who succeeded. As the Tor 
belonged to the Abbey of Tavistock, we may assume that 
the church was founded by the monks. 

And here a curious question arises. The manor of 
Liddaton, as Lideltone, belonged to the Abbey at the 
compilation of * Domesday ;' and this was in Brent Tor 
parish. But the Abbey had another manor called Bernin- 
tone, which has not been identified ; and this also may be 
associated with Brent. The one name seems to echo the 
other. Moreover, this manor of Bernintone was not only 
extensive and fairly populous, containing thirty-five plough- 
lands and an enumerated population of forty-eight ; but, 

192 History of Devonshire. 

in addition to serfs, villeins, bordars, and swineherds, it 
had four bures and a quantity of * common pasture.' 

In the adjoining parish of Marystow the Abbey held 
from Saxon times the manor of Radone or Raddon. 
Sydenham, which gave name to a family long extinct, had 
come to the Wises so early as the reign of Henry IV. ; 
and their many-gabled house, now that of the Tremaynes, 
is the best preserved Elizabethan mansion in this part of 
the county, although it was garrisoned for the King under 
Colonel Holbourn in 1645. Built by Sir Thomas Wise, it 
passed from his name in the next generation ; for his only 
son died unmarried, and his granddaughter, Bridget 
Hatherleigh, brought it to the Tremaynes, in whom it 
has ever since remained. Prior to this marriage, the 
Tremaynes had been seated at CoUacombe in Lamerton 
for several generations. They had the estate of CoUacombe 
by marriage from the Trenchards ; but the house was 
erected by the Tremaynes in the latter part of the sixteenth 
century, and retains many picturesque features. Here 
were born the twin Tremaynes, Nicholas and Andrew, of 
whose likeness and sympathy Prince tells some wonderful 
tales, and who both fell at the siege of Newhaven in 1563. 
Among the Tremayne memorials in Lamerton Church is 
one recording how 

' One of both sore wounded lost his health, 
And t'other slain, revenging brother's death/ 

Lifton, which adjoins Marystow, one of the frontier 
parishes of Devon next Cornwall, passed from the Crown, 
by the grant of King John in 1199, to Agatha, who had 
been nurse to Eleanor his mother. By Edward I. the 
manor, hundred, and advowson were given to Thomas of 
Woodstock, and descended thence through the Hollands 
to the Nevilles. Then the Harrises had it a couple of 
centuries, and next came the Arundells. 

The Lysonses state that it was held of the chapel of 

Tavistock. 193 

Berkhampstead by the annual render of a pound of 

Kelly is noteworthy as affording one of the few con- 
tinuing local instances of families seated on thei estates 
whence they take name. The Kellys of Kelly have held 
this manor from the time of Henry II. at least. 

Milton Abbot, already mentioned, contains the lovely 
Devonshire seat of the Dukes of Bedford — Endsleigh. 
Edgcumbe, here, is the original home of the family of 
Edgcumbe, and has continued in the possession of the 
elder branch from the reign of Edward III. The younger 
branch is ennobled as Earls Mount Edgcumbe. 

There is additional testimony to the importance of the 
valley of the Tavy in the early days of Saxon settle- 
ment, in the fact that Whitchurch parish — Wicerce in 
^ Domesday ' — by its name indicates the existence here of 
a church in pre-Norman times. Like the other parishes 
around Tavistock, in later days it testified to the im- 
portance of that ancient town by giving home to several 
families of ancient gentry. A younger branch of the 
Courtenays was long settled at Walreddon ; Halwell was 
a seat of the Glanvilles for some three centuries before 
they removed to. Kilworthy ; Grenofen, now belonging to 
the Chichesters, was long in the Pollards ; Britsworthy 
ong continued in the Mewys, Moortown in the Mooringes, 
and Sortridge in the Pengellys. Whitchurch was once an 
archpresbytery, on the foundation of Robert Champeaux, 
abbot of Tavistock about the year 1300, the rector being 
archpriest and having three fellows. 




One of the hundreds of the Exon ' Domesday,' which 
neither the Lysonses nor any other general writers on 
Devonian history identified, is that of Walchentone, 
which appears again in the ' Exchequer Domesday ' as, 
Wachetone, with the appendant manors of Svdtone 
(now Plymouth), Tanbretone (Tamerton), and Macretone 
(Maker), all part of the royal demesne. Walchentone 
hundred is now represented by the hundred of Roborough ; 
and Walchentone itself is to be found in the moorland 
parish of Walkhampton, the identification being easy to 
anyone acquainted with the ancient and indeed current 
pronunciation — ' Wackington.' Nowhere in Devon has 
so great a change taken place in the relationships of 
manors — Walkhampton being quite an insignificant 
parish, important only in its association with Buckland 
Abbey, and Sutton the site of the largest town of the 

The Cistercian Abbey of Buckland was founded by 
Amicia, the widowed countess of Baldwin, seventh Earl 
of Devon, and the mother of Isabella de Fortibus. She 
acquired in 1273 lands for the purpose by purchase or 
gift from her daughter, and in 1280 signed the founda- 
tion deed, vesting in the monks and their successors the 
manors of Buckland, Bickleigh, and Walkhampton, with 

Buckland Monachorum. 195 

the advowsons, and the hundred of Roborough, for the 
use of the Abbey dedicated in honour of God and the 
blessed Mary, mother of God, and the blessed Benedict. 
The monks came from the Abbey of Quarr in the Isle of 
Wight, founded by Baldwin, second Earl of Devon, and 
Robert was the first abbot. They were unfortunate 
enough to start by incurring episcopal censure, cele- 
brating divine offices without the consent of the parish 
priest or the bishop's license, and Bishop Bronesqombe 
therefore laid them under interdict. This was relaxed at 
the solicitation of Queen Eleanor, and speedily removed. 

The data for the history of Buckland are very scanty. 
Soon after the foundation the title of the Abbey to the 
hundred was questioned, and judgment given for the 
King. Yet the abbot continued to exercise the jurisdic- 
tion, and in that right successfully resisted the attempt of 
Edward 11. to grant a charter to the town of Plymouth, 
which came within his authority. When Plymouth was 
incorporated the Abbey was compensated with the church 
of Bampton. In 1336 the royal license was granted to 
crenellate the Abbey, Plymouth and its vicinity being at 
this time in constant peril from foreign descent. Having 
asserted their rights against the King, the convent were 
not likely to allow them to be infringed by a plain squire. 
James Derneford, lord of the manor of East Stonehouse, 
set up a pillory and tumbrel in his manor, and held a 
court of frankpledge there. This was resisted by the 
monks, and eventually referred to the arbitration of 
William Hylle, Prior of Plympton, and James Chudlegh. 
They, in 1448, decided in favour of the Abbey, and Derne- 
ford, besides removing the pillory and tumbrel, had to pay 
£20 as a fine. 

Thirty years later the monks themselves were cast. 
They were sued at Lydford for encroachments upon the 
rights of the duchy of Cornwall within the forest of Dart- 
moor, and were found to have offended. , 


196 History of Devonshire. 

None of the sixteen abbots of Buckland was a man of 
note ; but Thomas Ol3rver, who succeeded in 1463, was a 
warm supporter of the Earl of Richmond, afterwards 
Henry VII., and was proscribed, without result, by- 
Richard. The last abbot was John Toker. At the Dis- 
solution the revenues were no more than 3^241 17s. gjd. ; 
but then Toker had been mindful of * those of his own 
household,' and just prior to the surrender had leased 
the rectorial tithes of Buckland, Walkhampton, Bickleigh, 
Sheepstor, and Bampton, to his brother Robert, and his 
nephews William and Hugh Toker. 

The Abbey passed through various lay hands with 
unusual rapidity. George Pollard, of London, had a 
lease granted in 1539 for twenty-one years. In 1542 Sir 
Richard Grenville had a grant of the reversion. In 1580 
the Grenvilles sold the property to John Hele and 
Christopher Harris, and nine months later it was conveyed 
to Sir Francis Drake, to whose representatives it still 
belongs. With the exception of the manor of Buckland, 
the Abbey lands at Bickleigh, Walkhampton, and else- 
where in the neighbourhood were purchased in 1546 by 
John Slanning. Buckland was bought by a London 
haberdasher, named Richard Ciymes, in the same year ; 
but in 1660 it also was sold to the Slannings. From the 
Slannings, through heiresses, the estates passed to the 
Heywoods ; from them, by purchase, to Sir Masseh 
Manasseh Lopes ; and they are now the property of his 
grandson. Sir Massey Lopes. 

What is yet known as Buckland Abbey is really the 
Abbey Church, converted by Grenville into a dwelling- 
house. The chief interest of the place lies in its connec- 
tion with the great sailor into whose hands it subsequently 
came. There are portraits of Drake and of his captive, 
Don Pedro de Valdez, Vice-Admiral of the Armada, for 
whom the Abbey became a prison pending the payment 
of his ransom ; shields of arms of the Drake and allied 

Buckland Monachorum. 197 

families ; and personal relics of Sir Francis — as his drum, 
his Bible, sword, and shield ! Another noted warrior with 
whom Buckland is associated is General Elliot, Lord 
Heathfield, defender of Gibraltar, whose monunient is in 
the church. 

Buckland parish, now from the Abbey known as 
Buckland Monachorum, was in * Domesday' the most 
populous manor between Tavistock and the sea — held by 
William de PoUei, in succession to Brismar — and had both 
a saltwork and a fishery. Brismar had also held, and 
William had succeeded to, the adjacent manors of Bick- 
leigh and Sampford, now Sampford Spiney. The added 
name, in this latter case, is said to have been derived 
from its possession by the family of Spinet or De Spineto ; 
but as the neighbouring parish of Shaugh takes its title 
from the Saxon sceacga, 'rough coppice,' it is quite as 
probable that the Spiney here may be simply the allied 
word spinney^ Between Sampford and Shaugh lies the 
parish of Meavy, made up of four Domesday manors of 
that name, all of which passed from their Saxon holders 
to Judhel of Totnes. To this fact is probably due the 
foundation of a Norman church here, whereof some trace 
yet remains in the present edifice. Either one of the 
Meavys (the ancient form is Mewi, and the river, whence 
the name is taken, is called the Mew in the older records), 
or an unidentified manor of Metwi, is in all probability 
the modern parish of Sheepstor ; but one of them has 
been identified by Mr. Davidson in half a mansa granted 
by Cnut in 103 1 to a thane named ^Etheric. The 
boundaries can still be traced, even to a cleaca or set of 
stepping-stones across the river. 

Sheepstor alone of all the group, apart from Buckland, 
has any historical connection. It was the ancient home 
of the Elfords, and one of these, a staunch RoyaUst, is 
said to have found refuge from his enemies in a cavity 
amidst the confused heap or * clatter ' of detached rocks 

igS History of Devonshire. 

that clothes the precipitous side of Sheepstor Hill, and 
possibly named it Schittis or Schattis Tor — the older 
form— rfrom' its shattered aspect. The cavity is now 
commonly called the Pixies' Hole. Elford is said to have 
employed his time in painting its rocky sides, but of this 
there is no trace. 

At Bickleigh there still remains the old house of the 
Slannings, as at Sheepstor, its daughter parish, that of the 
Elfords, and at Meavy the manor-house of the Strodes and 
Drakes. South Devon has a. large number of ancient 
mansions, degraded to farms. Of the Slannings, who 
were somewhat intimately connected with Plymouth, and 
who were settled at Shaugh before Bickleigh, the most 
distinguished member was Sir Nicholas, one of the * four 
wheels of Charles's wain,' who was killed at the siege of 
Bristol, 1643. 

Two important parishes lie at the junction of the Tavy 
with the Tamar, one on either side — Beer Ferrers and 
Tamerton Foliott. Beer is the Birland which before the 
Conquest belonged, to Ordulf, and is entered in ' Domes- 
day ' as held by Reginald de Valletort under the Count of 
Moreton. It was a very extensive manor, and had seven 
salt-works. Henry, the common ancestor of the Ferrerses, 
.whence its distinctive name^ held it as early as the reign 
of Henry H. Sir William de Ferrers had a license for 
castellating his house h«re in 1337 ; but before the end of 
that century the coheiress of the Ferrerses brought the 
manor to the Champernownes, and they to the Willoughbys, 
Lords Broke. In the latter half of the fifteenth century 
one of this family was Lord High Steward of Plymouth, 
and engaged in sharp controversy with his neighbours the 
Edgcumbes at Cotehele, concerning which some amusing 
records are still extant- Curiously enough the Earl of 
Mount Edgcumbe is now the owner of this property, by 
descent from the coheiress of the Earls of Buckingham- 

Buckland Monachorum. 199 

shire ; they in their turn had it by descent in the female 
line from Sir John Maynard, who purchased it of the 
Broke successors. Ley, here, is said to have been the 
original seat of the Leys, Earls of Marlborough. 

So far back as the reign of Edward I., and probably 
much earlier, it had been discovered that Beer contained 
mineral treasures of no little value ; and there are extant 
records of 1298 which show that Edward L was then 
working silver lead-mines in Byr or Birlond on his own 
account, and that the process of extracting and refining 
the silver was well understood. The mines have been 
worked at intervals ever since; and were in extensive 
operation when the principal workings were drowned out 
by the Tamar breaking through its bed. 140 ounces of 
silver have been extracted per ton of lead ; and 6,000 ounces 
of silver are said to have been produced in six weeks. 

It was probably in consequence of mining prosperity that 
the little town of Beer Alston in Beer Ferrers gradually 
acquired importance. It had a market granted about 
1294, and was made a Parliamentary borough by Elizabeth. 
It returned two members m right of certain burgage 
tenures until 1832. Risdon derives the distinctive name 
Alston from Alen9on,: to whom he says the manor was 
given by the Conqueror; but as the latter statement is 
wrong, the former need not trouble us- 

Beer Ferrers Church was rebuilt by William de Ferrers, 
and contains his monument, with other memorials of the 
family* He also founded here a collegiate chantry. 

Matthew Tindal, the Deist, was born here in 1657, ^^^ 
father being rector of the parish. 

For something like a century at least Beer Ferrers has 
been noted for its orchards and fruit -gardens, and it sends 
away enormous quantities of fruit every season by raih 

Tamerton Foliott, once a market-town and occasionally 
called a borough, takes naipe from the Foliotts, who had 

200 History of Devonshire, 

their residence at Warleigh. The heiress of the Foliotts 
brought it to the Gorges, and from them it passed, by 
female heirs, to Bonvile, Coplestone, and Bampfylde. 
For some century and a half it has been the seat of the 
Radcliffes. The Coplestone oak, which stood on the green 
by the church, was the traditional scene of a murder by 
one of the Coplestones, the * fatal oak ' of Mrs. Bray's 
'Warleigh.' Gilbert Foliott, successively Abbot of 
Gloucester, Bishop of Hereford (1149), and Bishop of 
London (1161), was a native of Tamerton. One of the 
most learned men of his day, he was also a steady opponent 
of A Becket, and was excommunicated by that primate 
and the Pope accordingly, but relieved by a synod which 
he called. He held the See of London twenty years. 

Maristow in this parish, the seat of Sir Massey Lopes, 
was the site of the ancient chapel of St. Martin (whence 
the name) belonging to the canons of Plympton. After 
the Dissolution it came to the Champernownes, who sold 
it in 1550 to John Slanning of Shaugh« Thence it 
descended with the rest of the Slanning estates, and was 
bought by Sir Masseh Manasseh Lopes in 1798. It seems 
probable that Maristow was the chapel of St. Martin de 
Blakestane (the next Domesday manor to Tamerton), 
held by the Priory temp. Henry L, and given by 
Paganel. It is also said to have been the gift of William 
<le Pin and his daughter Sibella. 



The recorded history of Plymouth cannot be traced much 
farther than the Norman Conquest. The town finds no 
mention in the ' Saxon Chronicle.' Risdon, indeed, 
citing the hfe of St. Indractus, tells us that by the 
Saxons it was named Tamarweorth, which is much more 
likely, if the reference has any historic value, to be the 
Saxon name of what is now Drake's Island — ' the Island 
of the Tamar.' Leland also asserts that much of what 
afterwards came to be called Plymouth was held by the 
canons of the ancient Saxon college of Plympton, which 
Bishop Warelwast made the foundation of the famous 
Plympton Priory. But these statements have no authority ; 
and the earliest undoubted and distinct mention we have 
of Plymouth is as the Sutton of ' Domesday,' held by 
William in succession to the Confessor, an insignificant 
manor, with an enumerated population of 7 only. It was 
many a long year after this that the manor was granted 
by the Crown to the Valletorts, and by them in part to 
the monks of Plympton ; and that mainly by the fostering 
care of the prior and his brethren, though largely as the 
result of independent effort, the foundations of the chief 
centre of population of the West were laid. 

* Domesday * affords the materials for a striking com- 
parison between past and present. The eight manors, 

202 History of Devonshire. 

which included what is now the great triple community of 
the three towns of Plymouth, Devonport, and Stonehouse, 
with their suburban area, had in 1086 an enumerated 
population of 61, and were valued at ^^7 15s. annually. 
The population is now 150,000, and the annual value 
3^380,000. In eight centuries the population has increased 
2,500 times, and the value nearly 5,000. This is the most 
remarkable contrast Devon has to show. 

But the tale of the early days of Plymouth would be 
incomplete if we stopped here. Plymouth herself may 
be this mere infant of some eight centuries' growth ; but 
the magnificent harbour to which she owes her birth had 
played its part in the national life, such as that was, many 
a long year before, the Norman Conquest ; and for the 
first settlement on its shores we must go back at least to 
the days of the ancient Keltic civilization, which preceded 
the coming of the Roman, and in the West was never 
supplanted by him. The eastern shores of Plymouth 
Sound, in the neighbourhood of Staddon Heights, have 
yielded abundant traces of the presence of a com- 
paratively dense and cultured population. Mount Batten 
has produced examples of the earliest and latest British 
coinage in gold, silver, and copper; and in an ancient 
cemetery hard by were found a number of articles of 
bronze — the final and most finished illustrations of the 
elder pre-Roman civilization of the land. Here was the 
Stadxo Deuentis. of the Ravennat. Nay, the prehistoric 
dates go farther yet. Not only are worked flints of rude 
type found on the heights on either side of Plymouth 
Sound, but there was found beneath an ancient house in one 
of the oldest streets of Plymouth the remains of a kitchen- 
midden, and below them a singular example of urn burial. 
Again, the oldest name of the promontorial district to 
the east of Plymouth, now called Cattedown, is Hingston, 
or Hangstone — Stonehenge reversed ; and the rude sketch- 
map of the coasts, made in the reign of Henry VHI. in 

Plyviouthy Devonpori^ and Stonehotise. 20; 

connection with his schemes of fortification, depicts 
what appears intended for a * hanging stone,' or 

There is no evidence of the position of Plymouth in 
the Roman era. With the exception of a few scattered 
coins, hardly a score in all, found at various points in the 
neighbourhood, the Romans have left no traces of their 
visits here. True, the remains of a Roman galley are 
said to have been found silted up near Plympton, but the 
authority for its identification is not clear. There is no 
means whatever of linking on the Saxon Sutton of 
* Domesday ' with the Keltic settlement of Staddon (the 
direct. Saxon cpntinuant of which was probably the once 
fortified village of Plymstock), unless we are content to 
fall back upon myth and legend, and these will carry us 
very much farther afield. 

There seems no' reason for questioning the honesty of 
Geoffrey of Monmouth when he states that ^ he is re- 
producing an ancient record brought from Brittany ; and 
while he did not invent the story of Brutus the Trojan, 
there must have been some reason for associating the 
Hoe at Plymouth with the legendary combat of Corinaeus 
and Goemagot, and perpetuating the memory of the 
association by cutting the * effigies ' of the two champions 
in the greensward there, renewed for centuries at the cost 
of the Corporation. But while either Geoffrey or one 
of his editors erred seriously in identifying the Hamo's 
Port, which finds such frequent mention in his * Chronicle ' 
as the chief port of Western Britain, with Southampton, 
on the single score of the ' ham ' common to both, these 
references do appear to point somewhat definitely to a 
regular use in the Keltic period of the estuary of the 
Tamar for British maritime expeditions, seeing that it 
has descended to us at the present day as the Hamoaze. 
Hamo's Port is made the fitting centre by Geoffrey of 
Some of the most stirring scenes in the traditional 

204 History of Devonshire. 

national life, and it is the Hamoaze that best suits the 

Plymouth has been treated as one of the ports to 
which the Phoenicians traded in quest of tin. It may 
have been so, but there is no proof. It has been suggested 
further that the many-named little islet in the Sound, 
probably the true Tamarweorth, subsequently St. 
Michael's, Tristram's, St. Nicholas's, and now Drake's 
Island, was the Ictis of Diodorus Siculus. To that we 
may give a distinct denial. Thus, all we really know with 
certainty of the origin of Plymouth — this important factor 
in the general history of the country — is, that whilst the 
shores of the Sound have been peopled, perhaps con- 
tinuously, from far-distant prehistoric times, at the date 
of the Norman Conquest its place was occupied by a 
tiny hamlet of the name of Sutton. There is, indeed, 
good evidence that the neighbourhood, if not the actual 
site, was even then of some importance. Plymouth is 
the only locality in Devon that has so far yielded traces 
of the Teutonic *mark' — certain lands within the borough 
which retained a very complicated ownership until the 
present day, being noted in ancient deeds as ' landscore 
lands,' and as held in landscore tenure. Moreover, while 
the borders of the Sound do not appear to have afforded 
any special spoil to the Danes when they sailed up the 
Tamar and Tavy and burnt Tavistock — Wembury, on its 
eastern shore, at the mouth of the Yealm, seems the 
most likely scene of the Danish defeat in 851 by the 
Ealderman of Devon ; though Okenbury on the Erme, 
and Wickaborough in Berry Pomeroy, are also candidates 
for identification as the place which has come down to us 
in the * Saxon Chronicle ' as Wiganbeorche. 

Why the infant Plymouth was called Sutton =Southtown, 
has never been clearly made out ; but the older part o 
the borough, which still bears the name of ' Old Town,' 
preserved in Old Town Street, was apparently known by 

Plymotttkj Devonport, and Stonehouse. 205 

the same title. It was not until the year 1439 that the 
familiar Plymouth supplanted the older form, though it 
had been in occasional use at least a century before. The 
growth of the community was very rapid. Leland states 
that in the latter part of the twelfth century it was still * a 
mene thing as an Inhabitation for fischars.' And an official 
inquiry made in 1318 by the Sheriff of the county, records 
that prior to the foundation of the * ville of Sutton,' ther^ 
was a place on the shores of the ancient creek, now 
harbour, of Sutton Pool, where the fishermen used to sell 
their fish. This must have been long anterior to the 
present market rights, which date from 1254. Not until 
the manor passed from the Crown to the Valletorts did 
the town begin to grow. They made it their occasional 
residence, and gave freely of their land to the Priory of 
Plympton. Successive priors then encouraged settle- 
ment, and hence by the side of the original * Old Town,' 
distinguished as Sutton Valletort or Vawter, there grew 
up the new town of Sutton Prior, which speedily dis- 
tanced its elder sister. Rapid was the growth when 
prosperity fairly set in. 

While the original foundation of the mother church of 
St. Andrew certainly dates well back in the twelfth 
century, the Carmelites established themselves in the 
town in 1313, the Franciscans were not very much later, 
and the Dominicans were also speedily represented. To 
the siege of Calais in 1346, Plymouth sent more ships and 
men than any other town save Dartmouth, Yarmouth, 
and Fowey. And the latter part of the fourteenth century 
found Plymouth one of the best known and most thriving 
ports in England, with a corporation of some kind bear- 
ing rule, and with so large a population that the Subsidy 
Roll of 1377 records a taxable inhabitancy of 4,837, and 
thus gives it the rank of the fourth town in the kingdom, 
London, York, and Bristol alone preceding. In these 
early days of the national life no town advanced with 

20j5 History of Devonshire. 

such rapid strides ; in later centuries no provincial com- 
munity has had. more important links with the national 

But all was not quiet progress. The need of defensive 
works was . recognised at least as early as the reign of 
Richard II. ; and the ' Town Ligger ' records that the* 
place was burnt three times by the French and Bretons, 
in 1377, 1400, and 1403. But these were not the only 
occasions on which it was assailed; nor need this. excite 
wonder, seeing that the port was made the headquarters 
of so many hostile armaments in the thirteenth- and 
fourteenth centuries. The first great fleet recorded as 
sailing from its waters is one of 325 vessels, in 1287, for 
Guienne. The Black Prince made Plymouth the centre 
of his. operations against France, and sailed thence in 
1355 on the expedition which was crowned by the victory 
of Poictiers. Retaliation was therefore natural ; and the 
attempts were even more frequent than the municipal 
annals record. Thus, in 1339, ^^ French fired the town, 
but were repulsed by Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon ; 
in 1350 they tried again, but were only able to destroy 
some * farms and fair places.* In 1400, the fleet of James 
de Bourbon, after doing considerable damage,, was 
assailed and partially destroyed by a violent storm. The 
worst invasion, and the last, was that of a body of Bretons 
under the Sieur du Chastel, in 1403. No less than 600 
houses were then burnt, the greater part of the town 
sacked, and many of the inhabitants taken prisoners. 
The chief scene of the ravages of the invaders has been 
distinguished to this day by the name of Briton Side. 

There is good evidence, although successive fires have 
destroyed all the earlier records of ^ the town, that after 
this the prosperity of Plymouth waned. In 1439-40, how- 
ever, the town was formally incorporated by Act of Par- 
liament, and again began to thrive. The incorporation 
was really the extension of a much older corporation, 

Plymouth, Devonport, and Stonehouse. 207 

possibly originating with the Valletorts, for names of 
prepositi or mayors occur as early as 1310, and the 
Parliamentary representation commenced in 1298. What 
the Act did was to relieve the community from its depend- 
ence on the Priory ; and the burgesses thenceforth prided 
themselves upon belonging to the * Kinge's towne of. 
Plymothe,' as their ancient seal testifies. 

While there is no direct proof that the town took any 
active part in the Wars of the Roses, there is no reason 
to doubt that its sympathies were Lancastrian ; for here, 
in 1470, did the Duke of Clarence, with the Earls of 
Pembroke, Warwick, and Oxford, land to excite the revolt 
which led to the temporary restoration of Henry VI. ; 
and here, too, in the following year, disembarked Margaret 
of Anjou, on her ill-starred way to share in the final 
disaster of Tewkesbury. Nevertheless, Henry VH. could 
not land at Plymouth in 1483, because of the close guard 
kept. The attitude of the townsfolk towards ^he-War- 
beckian insurrection is shown by two or three entries of 
corporate expenditure, which speak of a party being sent 
into Cornwall to * dfend Pkyn ' — defend being used in the 
old and now forgotten sense of opposition. The commerce 
of Plymouth with France and Spain was so great at the 
close of this century, that the selection of the town for 
the disembarkation of Katherine of Aragon, in 1501, was 
but natural. Right heartily was she welcomed. During 
her stay she was the guest of a rich merchant prince 
named Paynter; and the Receiver's Accounts record, 
among other matters, how the Corporation gave her six 
oxen, five-and-twenty sheep, three hogsheads of * Gaston ' 
and claret wine, and a pipe of * Meskedell ;' while * my 
lady pryncs ys amner' (almoner) had ten shillings to 
* wryte oure supplicacion yn Spaynysch and in latyn, and 
to be oure salucyt.' Thus early did the burghers of 
Plymouth establish a precedent for the now inevitable 

2o8 History of Devonshire. 

In the opening years of the sixteenth century Plymoath 
began to fit herself for her leading share in the glories of 
the reign of Elizabeth ; and the pioneer in this work was 
one William Hawkins, the first prominent member of the 
greatest funily of merchant seamen and heroes England 
has known. For his 'skill in sea causes' this William 
Hawkins the elder was much esteemed by Henry VIII., 
and he was the first Englishman who sailed a ship into 
the Southern Seas. He had two worthy sons. The first, 
another William Hawkins, was the most influential resi- 
dent of Elizabethan Plymouth — ^a merchant and a sailor, 
the holder of a commission under the Prince of Conde, 
and, like the rest of his kinsfolk, quite as ready to fight as 
to trade. His son, a third WiUiam, was the founder of 
the East India Company's first trading-house at Surtit, 
and an ambassador to the Great Mogul at Agra. 

The most fiimous of the funily was the second son of 
Henry VIII.'s &vourite captain — ^the renowned Sir John 
Hawkins; the first Englishman to take a ship into the 
Bay of Mexico ; the early firiend of his relative, the re- 
doubtable Sir Francis Drake ; converted from an adven- 
turous trader into the heroic scourge of Spain by Spanish 
treachery at San Juan de UUoa ; for many a long weary 
year the Treasurer of the Navy and the man to whom 
is due all the credit of preparing the Royal Fleet to meet 
the Armada; the first true fiiend of the British sailor; and 
not only the ablest captain, but the best shipwright of his 
time. Probably bom in 1532, he died at sea in 1595 
(while engaged with Drake in the expedition which proved 
fatal to both these great seamen), worn out by years and 
toil, and heartbroken by failure and by the captivity of his 
son. Sir Richard Hawkins — ^he who gained the honourable 
epithet of 'the complete seaman/ and who lingered for 
ten years in a Spanish prison ere he obtained that release 
which his father had hoped to achieve. 

William Hawkins the elder, both his sons William and 

Plymoutky Devonporty and Stonehouse. 209 

John, and his grandson Richard, represented Plymouth 
in Parliament, besides filling the leading places in the 
municipality ; and while they form the most distinguished 
family of Elizabethan Devon, Sir John is unmistakably 
the chief worthy of their native Plymouth. 

Plymouth was attacked, though not besieged, by the 
Western rebels for the restoration of Roman Catholicism 
in 1549. The details preserved are but meagre; and from 
the fact that the assault was made on the 15th of August, 
ten days after the defeat of the insurgents at St. Mary's 
Clyst, it must have been either by an independent body 
or by a party of the Cornishmen on their retreat. How- 
ever that may be, the town records state that they were 
driven out of the town on this day, with a loss of 
eighfy prisoners. They did, however, one notable piece 
of damage — *Then was our steeple burnt with all the 
townes evydence in the same.' The greater portion, 
though not the whole, of the borough muniments were 
thus destroyed. The Plymouth men chased their foes 
into Cornwall, and brought back an unfortunate wretch 
with them, called in the accounts * the traytour of Corne- 
wall,* who was hung, drawn, and quartered on the Hoe — 
the central figure of a great public holiday. 

The mere recital of the naval expeditions which had 
their origin in Plymouth in the reign of Elizabeth, and of 
their results, would fill a volume. 

It was from Plymouth that Drake sailed in 1572 on his 
expedition to Nombre de Dios. When he returned one 
Sunday in August in the following year, the news reached 
St. Andrew Church while the people were assembled in 
worship, and straightway the preacher was deserted and 
the good folks ran to the seaside to welcome their hero 
home. Still more hearty were the rejoicings when he 
returned after * ploughing up a furrow round the world,* 
his vessel laden with great store of *gold and silver in 
blocks' — solid facts which were greatly appreciated by 


2 1 o History of Devonshire, 

the business-like Plymouthians. At the earliest opportunity- 
he was made mayor ; and a few years later sat in Parlia- 
ment for the town. 

From Plymouth, too, Drake sailed in 1587 to * singe 
the King of Spain's beard,' while in August, 1595, he and 
Hawkins sailed together on the fatal expedition to the 
West Indies from which neither returned, Drake is 
connected with the modem life of Plymouth, by his con- 
struction of the leat or water-course through which the 
town is still supplied with water from the river Meavy. 
There was a tradition that he did this at his own cost ; 
but recent discoveries of long-lost documents show that 
the work was initiated by the Corporation, planned by one 
Robert Lampen, and carried out at their charges, and 
that Drake's relation to the scheme wa? that of a con- 
tractor, paid partly in cash and partly by a lease for sixty- 
seven years of mills erected on the line of the new leat 
or stream. His memory is drank at the annual inspec- 
tion of the waterworks by the Corporation, as that of 
the man — ^to adopt the lines under his portrait in the 
Guildhall — 

*Who with fresh streams refresht this Towne that first, 
Though kist with waters, yet did pine for thirst.' 

Plymouth — according to Prince a * port so famous that 
it hath a kind of invitation from the commodiousness 
thereof to maritime noble actions ' — was the place whence 
Sir Walter Ralegh sent forth his fleets for the settlement 
of Virginia, and to which he returned broken-hearted 
from his last fatal expedition after the golden city. of 
Manoa, and was apprehended by * Judas' Stukely. It 
was the port, too, whence Sir Humphry Gilbert sailed on 
that voyage to Newfoundland from which he never came 
back ; but which has left us the rich legacy of his dying 
words, * Heaven is as near by sea as by land.* Hence in 
1589 set forth the expedition under Drake and Norris, 

Plymoutky Devonport^ and Stonehouse. 211 

intended to place Don Antonio on the throne of Portugal, 
And hence went the memorable expedition against Cadiz 
in 1596, of which Howard and Essex were the chief com- 
manders, while the last of the plentiful * Knights of Cales ' 
was made in Plymouth streets on the return, ' as the Lords 
General came from the sermon !' 

But, indeed, in these days there was, to apply the words 
of Carew, an * infinite swarm ' of expeditions of one kind 
and another. Now and again large fleets and powerful 
squadrons set forth, and single ships almost daily; so 
we pass on to the central incident of these stirring times, 
the defeat of the Armada, 

Twice had Spanish invasion been averted by the astute- 
ness and daring of two Plymouth seamen — for Drake, if 
Tavistockian by birth, was Plymouthian by adoption. 
Once Philip's schemes were counteracted by the pretended 
treachery of Sir John Hawkins, who applied the money 
paid him by the Spanish King to bring over his fleet in 
works of defence. Once again Philip's preparations were 
destroyed by Drake harrying on^ Spanish port after 
another. And when the time of trial could no longer be 
delayed, again it was Plymouth, and Plymouth men, that 
took the foremost place. There are extant some most 
graphic descriptions by William Hawkins the second, 
who was mayor in the eventful Armada year, of the ' 
repair of vessels by night, torch-lights and cressets flaring 
fitfully in a gale of wind. His brother John had worked \ 
for years to bring the royal navy to efficiency ; and the ' 
ships which he collected in Plymouth harbour were * in 
such a condition,' as Mr. Froude says, * hull, rigging, 
spars, and running rope, that they had no match in the 
world.' They were the nucleus of a much larger gather-, 
ing of volunteer craft from many a port throughout the 
kingdom, but chiefly from the maritime towns of the 
West and South. Of 190 vessels which waited in 
Plymouth waters to resist the boastful Spaniard, 34 only 

14— a 

212 History of Devonshire. 

belonged to the Queen. To the volunteer levy, Plymouth 
supplied seven ships and a fly-boat. Though nominally 
under the command of Howard of Effingham, the two 
chief captains were Drake and Hawkins — Drake being 
vice-admiral, and in charge of the volunteers ; Hawkins 
rear-admiral, with special relations to the royal squadron. 

There is a much-cherished tradition that when Captain 
Fleming brought the news of the approach of the 
Armada, the leading captains were playing bowls, and 
that Drake insisted on the set being finished, pithily 
remarking, * There's time enough to play the game out 
first, and thrash the Spaniards afterwards.' No con- 
temporary authority exists for the tradition, and even the 
site of the bowling-green which Plymouth undoubtedly 
possessed at that time is disputed; but the story so 
fathers itself, that we may accept it heartily without too 
strict an inquiry into pedigree. There was time enough 
to play the game, and thrash the Spaniards ; and this, 
although contrary winds made it a work of some difficulty 
to get the ships to sea. 

It was about four o'clock on the afternoon of the 
19th of July, 1588, that news of the approach of the 
Armada came ; and that night some of the English ships 
were warped out of harbour. But the Spanish fleet did 
not appear in sight until noon of the following day ; and 
then began that great battle of nations which was not to 
end until the pride of Spain was hopelessly crushed. 
The only man of note who fell on the side of the English 
was a Plymouth sailor. Captain Cock, who joined the 
fleet in a vessel of his own, captured a Spaniard, and 
died in the moment of victory — ' cock of the game,' as 
Fuller calls him. 

The defeat of the Armada was commemorated until 
within living memory in Plymouth, by the ringing of a 
merry peal from the bells of the old church of St. 
Andrew on the Saturday night preceding the 25th of 

Ply mouthy Devonporty and Stonehouse. 213 

July; and on the Sunday the Corporation used to walk to 
church in state. 

Charles I. came to Plymouth in September, 1625, for 
the purpose of inspecting the troops gathered for the 
abortive expedition to Cadiz, It was an unfortunate 
business for the town. The fact that the King's servants 
received 3^33 3s. 4d, in fees was a very small niatter. 
The great evil was that the place was crowded with the 
impressed soldiery to the number of some 10,000, while 
many had to be billeted in the neighbouring villages. 
Four hundred men were impressed in Devon — to a large 
extent: the sort of scum that Falstaff so graphically 
describes; and whether they were good, bad, or in- 
different, were so ill looked after by the authorities, that 
the greater part were but half clothed, while the want ot 
money made them wholly starving. Most miserable was 
the condition of soldiery and townsfolk alike ; and right 
glad were the Plymouthians when the King had reviewed 
his 'ragged regiments,' and set out on his return; and 
when the expedition finally set sail. Worse remained 
behind : overcrowding and filth begat the plague, and a 
third of the population was swept away. 

Plymouth formed the centre of the operations for the 
settlement of New England and the foundation of the 
United States, The * Plymouth Company,' for the colo- 
nization of North America, had its origin in the patents 
granted by Elizabeth to Ralegh to settle Virginia, 3^40,000 
were spent by him ineffectually ; and five times he sent to 
search for the missing colonists whom he had planted at 
the * City of Ralegh ' in 1587, the settlement having been 
destroyed, and the survivors adopted, according to tradi- 
tion, into the Hatteras tribe. His failures led, howevei, 
to other attempts, and eventually to the incorporation by 
James I. of two companies — the London Company for 
the colonization of ' South Virginia,' and the Plymouth 
Company for the colonization of * North Virginia ' — 


214 History of Devonshire, 

Virginia being used as a general term for the North 
American coast. The London Company settled James- 
town in 1607 ; the attempt of the Plymouth Company to 
plant a colony at the mouth of the Kennebec failed, and 
thenceforward its members confined themselves to trading 
and fishing. In 1620, however, a new charter was granted 
them, whereby the Duke of Lennox, the Marquis of 
Buckingham, the Earls of Arundel and Warwick, Sir 
Ferdinando Gorges, and thirty-four others, were incorpo- 
rated as * the first modern and present Council established 
at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for the planting, 
ruling, and governing of New England in America.' The 
grant gave the patentees all property and control over all 
North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific, between 
the 40th and 48th degrees of north latitude. The ruling 
spirit of this second organization was Sir Ferdinando 
Gorges, long Governor of Plymouth and connected with 
the Gorges of St. Bude. The monopoly was too huge for 
realization. The pretensions of the patentees were laughed 
to scorn and ignored. Their vast designs dwindled into a 
scramble for individual interests and proprietorships ; and 
the real settlement of New England was effected with- 
out their knowledge or intervention. The * Council of 
Plymouth ' does not therefore fill a very important place 
in history. The only really notable thing it did was to 
grant the charter of Massachusetts, which proved so 
troublesome a child, that in 1635 the Council surrendered 
their charter, its members first passing particular patents 
to themselves * of such parts along the sea-coast as might 
be sufficient for them.' Gorges interpreted this liberally, 
for he appropriated what is now Maine; and his comrade. 
Mason, New Hampshire. The dissolution of the Company 
was really an incident in the earlier phase of the conflict 
between Charles and his Parliament — Massachusetts being 
strongly Puritan and welcoming the Puritanically dis- 
affected ; and the leaders of the Company being Royalists 

Plymouth^ Devonport^ and Stonehouse. 215 

and Episcopalians, absolutists by charter, and above all 
things mindful of the duty of strictly attending to their 
own pockets. As Sir Edward Coke told Gorges to his 
face, *the ends of private gain were concealed under 
cover of planting a colony,' 

Before the Plymouth Company had begun its later 
operation, ' on the 6th day of September, 1620, thirteen 
years after the first colonization of Virginia, two months 
before the concession of the grand charter of Plymouth, 
without any warrant from the sovereign of England, 
without any useful charter from a corporate body, the 
passengers in the Mayflower set sail from the waters of 
Plymouth Sound for a new world/ Bound for the Hudson, 
in the territory of the London Company, they landed, 
Nov, g, in the domains of the Plymouth Association, and 
there founded New Plymouth, the first permanent settle- 
ment in New England. The Huguenots were then at 
Port Royal or Annapolis (founded 1604), the London 
Company at Jamestown (1607), the Dutch at New York 
(1614). It is a singular coincidence, if nothing more, 
that the spot where the Pilgrims landed is called Plymouth 
in 1616, in Smith's map of New England. Probably it 
had therefore been early frequented by Plymouth ships* 
Whether the Pilgrims continued the old name or gave it 
anew cannot now be ascertained. 

A singular error, and one which it seems almost im- 
possible to overtake, has sprung from the departure of the 
Pilgrim Fathers from Plymouth, It has been again and 
again either stated or assumed that the little band of the 
Mayflower yfevey if not Plymouth people, at least Devonians, 
There is, however, not the least evidence that any one of 
them belonged to the West of England, and the amplest 
proof that the great majority did not. Nevertheless some 
Plymouth and Devonshire men did play an important part 
in the work of actual settlement. Gorges had a planta- 
tion on the island of Mohegan in 1621 or 1622, which 

2i6 History of Devonshire. 

was afterwards bought by Abraham Jennings, a Plymouth 
merchant. Moses Goodyear, son-in-law of Jennings, and 
Robert Trelawny, afterwards member for the town, two 
other Plymouth merchants, laid the foundation of the 
town of Portland ; and of actual Plymouth settlers we 
have John Winter, long Trelawny's agent, and George 
Cleeves, a man of great note in the new country, and as 
staunch a Republican as Trelawny was a Royalist. 

Massachusetts, moreover, was largely peopled from 
Devon and Cornwall ; and, although originating in Dor- 
Chester, had important connections with Plymouth. Thus 
in 1630 a number of intending emigrants to Massachusetts 
inet in the Hospital of the Poor's Portion at Plymouth, 
9. recent Puritan foundation, and there formed a Congre- 
gational church under * Master John Warham, a famous 
preacher of Exeter, and Master John Maverick.' A ship 
which sailed from Plymouth in 1622 took over eighty 
emigrants. I^ Western Maine and the lower districts of 
Massachusetts, the population still largely retains the 
characteristics of the men of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, 
and Dorset, and is spoken of as * the pure English race.* 
* The importation in the first place was made by English 
proprietors, who sent the farmers, mechanics, and ad- 
venturers, who lived in and about Devonshire, to cultivate 
and improve their large and vacant grants.' Massachusetts 
generally, however, drew from a wider field. One Roger 
Clap, of Salcombe, claims notice, as having become captain 
of Boston Castle. 

Since the siege of Exeter by the Conqueror, there has 
been no similar event in the West of equal importance 
to the siege of Plymouth by the Cavaliers. It marks an 
epoch of the first importance in national as well as locsd 
history. It was the longest and fiercest siege of these 
times, and it was endured successfully to the end. After 
the surrender of the army of Essex in 1644, Plymouth 
was the, only place that remained true to the Parliament 

Plymouth^ Devonpori^ and Stonehouse. 217 

in the entire Western Peninsula ; and had the Royalist 
soldiery employed in besieging it been set free by its 
capture, it is certain that the struggle between the two 
parties would have been greatly protracted. It is even 
possible it might have had another issue. Plymouth was 
the key to a good deal more than the fortunes of Devon 
and Cornwall. 

Although it had elected a staunch Royalist in Robert 
Trelawny to the Long Parliament, the town declared on 
the popular side the moment there was a prospect of 
war. As early as November, 1642, such preparations had 
been made by the mayor, Philip Francis, that the earthen 
line, ' weak and irregular,' cast up about the town under 
his directions, enabled Colonel Ruthen, or Ruthven, to 
repulse an attack in force by Sir Ralph Hopton. Retiring 
to Modbury, the Royalists were routed ; and this success 
led to Ruthven's marching into Cornwall, to carry the 
war into the enemy's country, and to his utter defeat in 
turn by Hopton at the battle of Bradock Down. This 
was on the 19th of January. In the following month, 
Hopton besieged Plymouth again, this time in much 
greater force; and having with him such distinguished 
Royalist leaders as Sir Bevil Grenville, Sir Nicholas 
Slanning, Colonel Trevanion, and Lord Mohun. He was 
again compelled to retire, however, by a second defeat at 
Modbury, on which the Parliamentary troops of the 
county had concentrated; and efforts were made, but 
unavailingly, to arrange a treaty of peace for Devon and 
Cornwall, and let the rest of the kingdom fight the 
quarrel out for themselves. For a while there followed a 
petty border warfare between Royalist Cornwall and 
Roundhead Devon, which was brought to a sudden close 
by the defeat of the Earl of Stamford at Stratton, and 
by the consequent eastward expedition of the Cornish- 
men, which ended so fatally for their leaders — Grenville 
being killed at Lansdowne, Trevanion and Slanning at 

2 1 8 History of Devonshire. 

Bristol, and Sidney Godolphin at Chagford. Plymouth 
took advantage of this period of comparative peace to 
strengthen its defences. 

They were soon needed. In August, 1643, the town 
was thoroughly blockaded by Colonel Digby, who did his 
work so well that no provisions could be brought in. 
Moreover, Sir Alexander Carew, who held command of 
the fort and island, the chief defences of the port, was 
detected in treaty for their surrender, sent to London, 
and subsequently executed. Prince Maurice took Exeter 
on the 4th of September, and marched on to reduce 
Plymouth, Stopping on his road to take Dartmouth, 
after the method of old-fashioned warfare, the Parliament 
found time to throw some 500 soldiers into Plymouth, 
under Colonel Wardlaw, who proved a commander of 
decision, and against whom Maurice, when he did arrive, 
found it hopeless to contend. The only advantage the 
Cavaliers gained was the capture, after three weeks' in- 
dependent leaguer, of an outlying and, as it proved, useless 
work called * Mount Stamford.' Maurice was incessant 
in his efforts to reduce the obstinate town, for well-nigh 
two months making almost daily assaults ; and on 
Sunday, the 3rd of December, all but succeeded. The 
stoutness of the defence, however, was too much for him- 
The Cavaliers, some of whom had pushed on to within 
pistol-shot of the walls, were routed to the cry of * God 
with us !* Hence for many a long year the bells of St. 
Andrew rang in memory of the * Sabbath-day fight ;' and 
sermons were preached, on the foundation of a pious 
Puritan widow, to hold the deliverance in lasting remem- 
brance. The town motto, * Turris fortissima est nomen 
Jehova I' of which Plymouth is as proud as Exeter of its 
* Semper fidelis ' — dates from this period. 

Maurice raised the siege on Christmas Day, prompted 
thereto partly by the appearance among his troops of the 
fatal * camp disease ;' but Digby continued the blockade. 

Plymouth^ Devonport^ and Slonehouse. 219 

until placed liors de combat by a rapier-wound in the eye. 
He was succeeded by Sir Richard Grenville. In like 
manner, Colonel Wardlaw, worn out, was followed for a 
short time in command of the garrison by Colonel Gould. 
The latter died early in 1644 ; and then came Colonel 
Martin, a most energetic officer, who again was followed, 
on his death in harness, by Colonel Kerr. 

The march of Essex into the West caused the siege to 
be raised ; but four days after the surrender of his forces 
at Boconnoc, the King himself summoned Plymouth, 
and on the loth of September sat down before the town 
with a gallant armament 15,000 strong. Lord Robartes, 
who had escaped with Essex and a few others in a boat 
from Fowey to Plymouth, was appointed Governor on the 
following day, on which the royal troops made a desperate 
but unavailing assault. Neither by persuasion, threats, 
nor force could Charles win his way within the stubborn 
town, and accordingly he and Maurice speedily marched 
off, leaving the conduct of the blockade once more in the 
hands of Grenville. There was not much fighting at 
Plymouth itself during the remainder of 1644 ; but 1645 
was a very active year, and there is a valuable con- 
temporary record of its proceedings, so far as they have 
a financial bearing, in the accounts of the Committee of 
Defence, yet in the possession of the Plymouth Corpora- 
tion. This committee held the governorship in commis- 
sion when Robartes was removed by the Self-Denying 
Ordinance, Colonel Kerr having chief military command. 

The most desperate attempt made by Grenville was in 
January, 1645. He appears at first to have captured 
three of the great outworks, and to have made his footing 
good for a while in one. His attack was in force along 
the line ; but when he had been repulsed at all points, 
save the scene of his temporary success, the captured 
work was stormed from every quarter by the Plymouth 
men and taken, and all who were within killed or made 

220 History of Devonshire. 

prisoners. Probably nearly a fourth of Grenville's whole 
force of 6,000 men was killed, wounded, or captured. 
Another fight at Fort Stamford, where the garrison also 
had the advantage, brought the siege practically to an 
end. True, it continued in name, after Grenville's defeat, 
first under Sir John Berkeley, and then under General 
Digby ; but towards the close of the year we find the 
garrison assuming the offensive, taking St. Budeaux 
Church, which had been turned into a Cayalier garrison, 
after an hour and a half's hard fighting, in December ; 
surprising Kinterbury ; and storming Saltash and Buck- 
land Abbey. On the 28th of January, 1646, the Royalists 
decamped in such a hurry at the advance of Fairfax, that 
they left guns, arms, and ammunition behind. The last 
Cavalier garrisons in the neighbourhood were Mount 
Edgcumbe, which had been held most gallantly by 
Colonel Edgcumbe against repeated attacks, and which, 
only when all hope was lost, surrendered to Colonel 
Hammond ; and Ince House, which resisted until the 
29th of March. Then the * scorn * was taken out of the 
Cavaliers who held it, by the planting in position of some 
big guns. 

. The siege cost the town dear, though the battle had 
been won. During the three years that it lasted the 
parish registers record the deaths of about 1,000 soldiers, 
^.nd of 2,000 of the townsfolk beyond the death-rate 
of that time. These figures do not, however, include the 
losses to the garrison of those who were buried where 
they fell ; nor those of the besiegers, whether in the field 
or by the still more fatal * camp disease.' There were many 
occasions when more than 100 fell in an assault ; one, at 
least, when the loss was over 300. The population of 
Plymouth at this date did not exceed 7,000 ; the deaths 
due to the siege approximated at least 8,000. In three 
years, therefore, a number greater than the population of 
the town was swept away. The whole history of the 

Plymouth^ Devonport, and Stonehouse. 22 1 

Civil War fails to supply a parallel. Moreover, the trade 
of the town was ruined, and scores of families reduced to 
the greatest distress and misery. As a partial relief the 
Plymouth duties were for a while taken off. 

It was the undaunted spirit the town had shown that 
led Charles II. to prepare for possible eventualities by 
erecting the citadel — one of the finest specimens of 
seventeenth-century fortification now extant in England 
— upon Plymouth Hoe. And it was the merest irony of 
Fate that led to the revival of the old temper under 
James, and that caused Plymouth to be the first munici- 
pality in the kingdom to declare for William of Orange, 
and this very citadel to be the first stronghold put into 
his hands by its Governor, the Earl of Bath. 

For something like 200 years — ever since, in fact, the 
waters of the Tamar were chosen as the site of a royal 
arsenal — Plymouth has mingled the characteristics of war 
and trade, though at times one has predominated and 
then the other. It was chiefly in consequence of the 
trading importance of the port that first Winstanley's 
(1696), then Rudyerd's (1706), Smeaton's (1756), and 
lastly, Douglass's (1882) lighthouses were erected in turn 
upon the Eddystone Reef, which lies a few miles off the 
entrance of Plymouth Sound. The construction of the 
great breakwater (1812-41) which stretches for a mile 
across the roadstead between the opposite heights of 
Maker and of Staddon, was, however, carried out for the 
express purpose of protecting the vessels of the fleet. 
And the forts which line the shores of the harbour, and 
form a cincture round the whole of the three towns, also 
bore reference to the public works, and not to any private 
interests. So absorbed, however, did the town become in 
privateering in the days of the great French war, that for 
the time almost all legitimate trade died out, and it 
required years of untiring energy to recover lost ground. 
One of the first steps taken was the formation of what is 

222 History of Devonshire, 

now the oldest Chamber of Commerce in the kingdom ; and 
since then wharves atfid piers have been formed and docks 
boilt, and in addition to a good foreign and large coasting 
trade, Pl3rmonth has become one of the chief mail ports 
in the kingdom. The growth of the town in the present 
century has been very rapid. The population is more 
than five times what it was in 1801 ; and in the last forty 
years it has considerably more than doubled. Growth has 
been accompanied by reconstruction, and there is very little 
left to mark the age of the community save the fine old 
mother church of St. Andrew, close by which now stands 
the noblest pile of municipal buildings in the West of 
England. The windows of the great hall are filled with 
stained glass illustrating the richly storied past of the 
old town ; and among the prized possessions of the Cor- 
poration is an old portrait of Drake, placed in the ancient 
Guildhall not many years after his death. Many local 
antiquities of interest are preserved in the Museum of the 
Plymouth Institution, including those of Keltic date. 

Plymouth has been very rich in worthies. The 
Hawkinses have been already named. Sir Thofnas 
Edmonds, son of the * customer ' at Plymouth (1562-1639) 
became the ambassador for James I. to Brussels and 
Paris, and subsequently Comptroller of the Household. 
John Quick, a celebrated Puritan divine (died 1706), and 
Joseph Glanvill, Prebendary of Worcester, author of 
' Saducismus Triumphatus * (already noted), were bom at 
Plymouth in 1636. It was likewise the birthplace 
of Dr. James Yonge (1647-1721), an early member of the 
Royal Society; of Br3rant the Mythologist (1715-1804), 
and of Kitto (1804-1854), the deaf author. 

William Elford Leach, Curator of the British Museum, 
the greatest zoologist Devonshire has produced, was born 
at Plymouth in 1790, and died in 1836. A year later was 
born Sir William Snow Harris (died 1867), the inventor 
of the system of applying lightning-conductors to ships ; 

Plymouth, Devonport, and Storehouse. 223 

and another Plymouth electrician, Jonathan Hearder 
(1810-76), was blind nearly all through his scientific career. 
But it is in connection with Art that the chief personal 
excellence of modern Plymouth has been reached. Here 
was born (1746-1831) James Northcote, R.A., pupil and 
biographer of Reynolds, himself a native of what is now a 
Plymouth suburb. Here Samuel Prout (1783-1852), the 
most distinguished water-colour artist of the West, and 
in his peculiar gifts unrivalled in the kingdom. Here the 
unfortunate Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846), the 
true founder of Schools of Art ; here Samuel Hart, R.A. 
(1806-1881), Professor of Painting, and Librarian of the 
Royal Academy, And here also first saw the light Sir 
Charles Lock Eastlake (1793-1866), President of the 
Royal Academy, and at the time of his death Director of 
the National Gallery. His first great work was a painting 
of Buonaparte at the gangway of the Bellerophon in 
Plymouth Sound, now in the possession of Lord Clinton. 

The joint history of the triple community of Plymouth, 
Devonport, and Stonehouse, has some curious features. 
In name Stonehouse, the smallest of the * three towns ' 
is the oldest. Devonport is the youngest, but under its 
earliest designation of Stoke was by far the most im- 
portant member of the triad, as it first appears in history 
in the pages of * Domesday.* It was then the property of 
Robert of Albemarle, whose name is still preserved in the 
title of the parish — Stoke Damerel — and had a population 
of twenty-five against the seven of Sutton and the one 
villein who occupied Stanehvs under Robert the Bastard. 
While hamlets were developing into the ville of Sutton, 
and that into the burgh of Plymouth, and while the 
building of ' stane and lime * which named the ancient 
manor of Stonehouse was growing into a walled town, 
Stoke Damerel continued a mere village. It passed from 
Damerells to Courtenays, Kemiells, Branscombes, and 

224 History of Devonshire. 

Britts, until it came to the Wises, and Sir Thomas Wise 
signalized his ownership by building a stately mansion on 
the craggy headland opposite the domain of the Edgcumbes, 
and calling it, with that imitation which is the sincerest 
flattery, * Mount Wise.' All but the name has long passed 
into oblivion, and cannon frown and soldiers dwell where 
the manor-house once stood. In 1667 Stoke was bought 
by Sir William Morice, Secretary of State to Charles IL, 
and some time member for Plymouth ; and early in the 
last century passed to its present owners, the St. Aubyns, 
by the marriage of Sir John St. Aubyn to Catherine, 
coheiress of the Morice family. As the whole town and 
parish, with a few unimportant exceptions, belongs to the 
St. Aubyns, it is now by far the most valuable manor in 
the West of England. 

Devonport, as a town, dates only from the reign of 
William III. Though Plymouth had so long been a naval 
port of resort of the first rank, it had few Government 
establishments and no dockyard. Woolwich, Deptford, 
and Portsmouth yards go back to the reign of Henry VIII. ; 
and Chatham was founded under Elizabeth. Charles II. 
established Sheerness, and is credited with the intention 
of creating a dockyard at Devonport, the advantages 
of the harbour there having been recognised among 
others by Ralegh. Until 1690, however, the royal ships 
at Plymouth were wholly dependent upon the accom- 
modation of private yards. William of Orange saw the 
need of remedying this state of things soon after he came 
to the throne, for plans for a * dock in the Hamoaze' were 
prepared in 1689 ; and in the following year a little creek 
was utilized in the construction of the first basin and 
dock. This was the germ from which has grown the 
great naval arsenal of the West, the works of which nov/ 
all but monopolize, in one form or another, the water- 
side for miles along the eastern shores of the Tamar 

Plymouth^ Devonport, and Stonehouse. 225 

Plymouth Dock was the original name of the new town ; 
and at first officers and artisans alike were accustomed to 
live in Plymouth and go to and fro their work daily. The 
first dockyard was completed in 1693; but it was not 
until 1700 that the first private house of the new town 
was erected, a rough wooden structure at the landing- 
place at North Corner, which became the principal centre 
whence the houses spread. There are still in this locality 
a few of the original dwellings left — buildings curiously 
compounded to all appearance of the cottage and the 
cabin, the self- instructed architects being at times 
singularly successful in transferring to the shore some of 
the leading characteristics of the stern quarters of the old 
Dutch-built men-of-war. 

As war followed war, so the dockyard extended ; and as 
the dockyard extended, so the town grew; until, about 
the middle of the last century, * the Dock' was enclosed by 
ditch and rampart, long since improved out of existence 
in favour of more massive works, in their turn so out- 
grown as to be practically useless. The earliest return of 
the population is for the year 1733, when it was 3,361, 
about half that of Plymouth. Fifty years later it was 
equal to that of the elder town ; and by the beginning of 
the century was largely in advance, having a population 
of 23,747 to the 16,040 of Plymouth and the 3,407 of 
Stonehouse. While war lasted Devonport grew more 
rapidly than Plymouth, the natural trade of which was 
almost wholly destroyed or given up for privateer- 
ing. But at length commerce asserted its superiority; 
and the census of 1841 showed Plymouth once more in 
advance, with a preponderance which it has since in- 
creasingly maintained, active as the development of the 
Government works has from time to time been. 

Devonport was one of the large centres of population 
enfranchised by the Reiorm Bill of 1832, when it and Stone- 
house were thrown together to make one constituency. It 


226 History of Devonshire. 

was incorporated as a municipality in 1837, having been 
previously governed by a body of Commissioners operating 
under a local Act. The name was changed from Plymouth 
Dock to Devonport in 1824. 

Devonport now consists of the old town 'within the 
lines ;' of the ancient village of Stoke, which has developed 
into a very handsome residential suburb — the tower of 
the mother church being the one antiquity the place can 
boast ; and of the great and growing annexe of Morice 
Town or New Passage, which has enormously developed 
since the commencement of the Keyham Steamyard in 
1844. Keyham was the original 'manor-place' of the 
Wises and their predecessors. Beyond the Keyham Yard 
are now Seamen's Barracks; and farther up the river 
towards Saltash the Bull Point and Kinterbury Powder 
Works and Magazines. The villages of Millbrook and 
Torpoint, and to a certain extent the town of Saltash 
also, on the Cornish side of the Tamar, are so far suburbs 
of Devonport that they are partially inhabited by men 
employed in the Government establishments. 

Of the few notable points in the local history, the 
blowing up in 1796 of the Amphion in harbour, when 
200 lives were lost, is one of the most memorable ; and in 
1840 occurred the great fire in the dockyard, when the 
Talavera and Minden were burnt, and large quantities of 
valuable stores and naval antiquities. 

Stonehouse has a history, though never yet thoroughly 
worked out. The township in legal documents is called 
East Stonehouse, by way of distinction from a hamlet on 
the opposite side of Hamoaze at Mount Edgcumbe, named 
West Stonehouse, said to have been burnt by the French 
in one of their raids. Carew, writing at the end of the 
sixteenth century, notes that 'certaine old mines, yet 
remaining, coniirme the neighbours' report.' It stood 
near the edge of the water at what is now called Cremyll. 

Plymottthj Devonport, and Stonehouse. 227 

There is no evidence to show whether West Stonehouse 
was included in the manor of Stonehouse held by Robert 
the Bastard at the date of the compilation of * Domesday.' 
Probably it was not, and East Stonehouse was really the 
elder town ; but Devon then, and until recently, included 
Mount Edgcumbe and adjacent lands west of the Tamar. 
After the Bastards the manor came to a family named 
thence of Stonehouse, and from them it passed by 
marriage to the Dumfords, whose heiress in turn carried 
it to its present possessors, the Edgcumbes. Apart from 
the building whose solid character gave the manor its 
name, there is little evidence, until Stonehouse came into 
the hands of the Durnfords, that it consisted of more 
than the castellated mansion of its lords, with some build- 
ings of a monastic character, doubtfully connected with 
the great Priory of Plympton. The Durnfords, however, 
did their best to foster their infant town; and James 
Durnford, as noted, brought down upon him the Abbot of 
Buckland, as lord of the hundred of Roborough, by setting 
up a pillory and tumbrel at * Estonhouse ' and holding 
courts there, wherefore, 26th Henry VI., it was ordered 
that the pillory and tumbrel should be 'deposed, de- 
stroyed, and removed,* that no courts should be held by 
Durnford which interfered with the abbot's view of frank- 
pledge, and no hindrance put to the execution of the 
abbot's precepts or the action of his bailiffs, etc., in the 
manor. At this time, and long afterwards, Stonehouse 
to some extent came under the jurisdiction of Plymouth. 
It formed part of the very extensive ancient parish of St. 
Andrew (to which it is yet appendant by patronage), and 
there are records of inquests being held there by a Plymouth 
coroner, though it never fell within the municipal boundary. 
Stonehouse was little more than a fishing village from 
the time of the Durnfords until the reign of Henry VIII., 
when it grew more rapidly ; so that early in the seventeenth 
century, Sir William Pole describes it as a ' convenient 


228 History of Devonshire. 

big town, well inhabited.' The first trace of any corporate 
anthority known to exist is in a deed of the 56th of 
Elizabeth, which refers to the government of the town 
being in the hands of the lord, Peter Edgcombe, Esqnire, 
nnder rales and directions made with 'the consent & 
fErancke agremt of xij. discrete & able psons of & 
w4iin the said Towne and liberties.* This woold be 
something in the nature of a select vestry; and the 
government of the township continued strictly parochial 
nntfl the establishment of a Local Board of Health, 
akhoagh it has a population of some 15,000. 

The ecclesiastical connection of Stonehoase with 
Plymooth probably originated with the extensive rights 
exercised by the Plympton Priory, which was not only 
liberally endowed by the Valletorts, bat received fix>m 
* John de Stanharst ' a grant of free fishery ' per totam 
terram meam.' Thoagh this deed is not dated, it cannot 
be later than Henry I. ; for in the latter part of the 
twelfth centoiy the fishery is mentioned in a Valletort 
grant as an ancient right. A Joel of Stonehoase was 
living there in the reign of Henry III. 

The present parish church, dedicated to St. George, 
replaced in the last century an ancient chapel dedicated 
to St. Lawrence, the existence of which it is said can be 
followed back to 1472. St. George, however, appears to 
have a good claim to the dedication ; for a deed, dated 
I2th Henry VH., mentions John Melett and Laurence 
Serle as ' custod capell sci georgii martii de Est Stone- 
house ;' and there is no trace of more than one ancient 
chapel in the town. Stonehouse became the settlement 
of a body of Huguenot refugees after the Revocation 01 
the Edict of Nantes; and for several years the chapel 
was used jointly by the French and English inhabitants. 
Eventually the former obtained a meeting-place of their 
own, and continued to meet there until 1810, when they 
became finally absorbed, as the Huguenots of Plymouth 


Ply mouthy Devonport^ and Stonehouse. 229 

had been three years earlier, in the native population. 
One of the refugees — Duval — has left his name to the 
headland of Devil's Point. 

There is good proof that Stonehouse was a place of 
some importance in the closing years of the sixteenth 
century, from the fact that an Act of Parliament was 
obtained to bring into the town a supply of fresh water, 
the needs of the shipping being alleged as a leading 
cause. A leat, or water-course, was accordingly made, 
though it did not answer the end designed. There appears 
then to have been some falling off. Stonehouse had a 
Royalist lord in Colonel Edgcumbe, and a tolerably 
numerous Roundhead population. Its interest was there- 
fore very equally divided ; and it took no active part in 
the great struggle. On one side lay Plymouth, garrisoned 
for the Parliament — its exterior lines of defence, indeed, 
included Stonehouse ; on the other was Mount Edgcumbe, 
held for the King. Stonehouse must have had walls of 
some kind, for it had barrier-gates until 1770 ; but it was 
not a place of any strength, and held wisely neutral. 
Hence, doubtless, its choice in 1643 as the place of 
meeting of the negociants of the fruitless treaty of peace 
between Devon and Cornwall. 

Like Devonport, Stonehouse has been to a large extent 
absorbed by the action of the Government, which in one 
form or another occupies the larger proportion of its 
water-side. Here the Naval Hospital, fronting the 
Militar}'^ Hospital at Devonport on the other side of a 
creek ; there the Royal William Victualling Office, the 
finest pile of buildings devoted to victualling purposes in 
the country ; and there again forts and barracks, the 
latter the headquarters of a division oi Royal Marines. 
What shipping-trade continues is carried on in Stone- 
house Pool, on the western shores of which Devonport is 
attempting to utilize for commercial purposes ,the only 
available piece of foreshore that the Government estab- 
lishments have left free. 


Peympton bas all the marks of a very ancient settlement 
When it was founded the waters of what is now known 
as the Laira stretched up the valley to its site, and im- 
mediately above the ferthest tidal reach were reared the 
earthworks which now bear the ruins of the fortress of 
the Redverses, but which were certainly held by the Kelt, 
possibly adopted by the Roman, and in turn extended 
and strengthened by the Saxon, ere the Norman made it 
the centre of his power in the wide district around. 
Traces of this history may yet be read in the castle and 
its surroundings. 

In all probability Plympton takes name from its ancient 
position at the head of the estuary of what is now known 
as the Plym, or, as these estuarine creeks are commonly 
called in the locality, lake— ^e» lin in the Western Keltic 
tongue, contracted, as in other instances in Cornwall, into 
pHn, the form which the lirst syllable takes in its earliest 
occurrence in ' Domesday ' — Plintona. Plymouth, at the 
lower end of the estuary, did not assume that appellation 
until the original meaning of the word had long been lost ; 
and the consequence appears to have been a curious trans- 
ference of names. The modern Plym is made up of two 
rivers, the Mew or Meavy, and what in later days has 
been called the Cad, but through the Middle Ages was 
known as the Plym. The old form of Meavy is Mewi, 

Plympton. 231 

and this in the Kornu-Keltic would mean * greater water.' 
There is no reasonable doubt that Laira — formerly Lary 
— the name now applied to the estuary, which means the 

* lesser water ' — is the original name of the second 
tributary, and that the estuary and the river— the Plym 
and the Lary — have somehow exchanged titles. There is 
a bridge over the Plym called Cadover, a corruption oicoed 
weorthig — the * farm-place in the wood,' and the second 
change of name from Plym to Cad arose from the * over ' 
being held to imply that the bridge crossed the Cad. 
The Plym is now commonly understood of the riven 
between their junction and the estuary. 

Failing such an explanation, many are the hypotheses 
that have been advanced to account for the fact that the 

* ton ' of the Plym is not, and never was, upon the river 
now known by that name, and is, indeed, nearly two miles 
distant, though quite as great a distance from the estuary. 
It is, however, well within historic times that the tide 
flowed up to the walls of the castle, and that Plympton 
stood literally, as well as nominally, at the * head of the 
lake.' Moreover, throughout the Middle Ages the chief 
traffic between Plymouth and the great Priory of Plympton 
was by boat. This was the route adopted by the Black 
Prince at his visits to the West, when the Priory afforded 
him entertainment. A record of acts done by him as 
Duke of Cornwall at Plymouth and Plympton, in 1362, is 
still in the possession of the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe ; 
and the house seems to have become somewhat im- 
poverished by the many claims on its hospitality caused 
by its contiguity to the port of Plymouth. 

At the compilation of * Domesday ' Plintona was the 
chief centre of population for many miles. There is, 
therefore, much show of reason for the appearance here 
also of the ubiquitous couplet : 

* Plympton was a borough town 
When Plymouth was a furzy down.' 

232 History of Devonshire. 

William held it in succession to the Confessor, and had 
an enumerated population of twenty-three within his 
demesne ; while there were twelve villeins in the portion 
held by the canons. Though all was included in one 
entry, the germs of the division thus already existed 
which in later years made the territory of the Priory the 
parish of Plympton St. Mary, and the lands of the secular 
lord the Borough of Plympton Erie (from its owners), or 
Plympton St. Maurice, from the early patron saint of its 
church, in later years assigned to St. Thomas of Canter- 

The remains of Plympton Castle consist of a mound 
surmounted by the ruins of a shell keep, which rises at 
the eastern end of a rectangular enclosure or base court. 
The earthworks are in excellent preservation, and there 
are traces of exterior defences. The Norman masonry is 
simple, and with no special features of interest save the 
occurrence of the cavities in the walls, which show the 
original places of the beams inserted to strengthen and 
support the stonework upon the doubtful foundation of 
the mound. It is probable that the Norman castle was, 
in great part, if not wholly, built by Richard de Redvers, 
Earl of Devon, to whom Henry I. granted the honour 
and castle. It was practically demolished in the ensuing 
reign under his son, Baldwin, who had espoused the 
cause of Matilda against Stephen, but whose garrison at 
Plympton surrendered without striking a blow. This was 
the only occasion on which Plympton Castle has figured 
in history, and from that day to this as a fortalice it has 
been a mere ruin ; though Plympton was a station of the 
Cavaliers at the siege of Plymouth. The honour ot 
Plympton— of which were held 120 knights' fees — followed 
the fortunes of the great house to which it belonged. 
It passed from the Redverses to the Courtenays, and 
continued in the latter, with the exception of the 
intervals when that powerful family lay under royal dis- 

Plympton. 233 

pleasure, until the death of Lord Edward Courtenay, in 
1566. The property was then scattered among various 
families, but was subsequently to a large extent brought 
together again by purchase by the Earls of Morley ; and 
in them the lordship of the castle and manor is now 

The Parkers, originally of North Molton, acquired by 
their marriage with the heiress of Mayhew, temp. Eliza- 
beth, the manor of Boringdon, and thenceforward made 
it their chief residence, until in 1712 they purchased 
Saltram, once the seat and residence of Sir James Bagge, 
the creature of Buckingham, and the 'bottomless bagge' 
of the patriot Eliot. » The Parkers were raised to the 
peerage in 1774, as Barons Boringdon ; and in 1815 ad- 
vanced to be Viscounts Boringdon and Earls of Morley. 
Saltram House was rebuilt by them early in the last 
century, and was long reported the largest mansion in 
the county. 

Plympton Priory was one of the most ancient and 
notable religious houses in Devon. The canons who held 
two hides of the Plintona manor under William, were the 
successors of men who had been seated there in all 
probability for a longer period than any other religious in 
Devon outside Exeter. There is yet extant a copy of a 
Saxon document of reasonable authenticity, dated 904, 
which records a grant by Eadweard the Elder to Asser, 
Bishop of Sherborne, and the convent there, of twelve 
manors, by way of exchange for the monastery which in 
the Saxon tongue is called * Plymentun.* The college 
consisted of a dean and four canons ; and when they 
refused to give up their wives, or, as Leland said, * wold 
not leve their concubines,' it was suppressed by Bishop 
Warelwast, nephew of the Conqueror, in 1121. In its 
stead he founded what afterwards became the great 
Augustinian Priory o. St. Peter and St. Paul, which was 
so enriched with liberal gifts by the Redverses and 

234 History of Devonshire. 

Valletorts and other benefactors, that at the Dissolution 
it was the wealthiest house in the West, with revenues 
valued at ^^912 12s. 8d. The magnificent Priory Church, 
where Warelwast and some of the Courtenays were 
buried, adjoined the parish church of St. Mary ; and a 
few traces yet remain. Of the domestic buildings all 
that is left is the refectory, converted into a dwelling 
which has a Norman crypt. 

The priors, as already stated, were lords of a portion of 
Plymouth in its infancy, and their part of the ancient 
manor of Sutton was then called Sutton Prior. Before 
that town could be incorporated, their consent had to be 
obtained; and the terms were finally settled at an in- 
quisition held in the nave of the Priory Church in 1441, a 
fee farm rent of £41 being then deemed an adequate 
compensation. The Priory had two appendant cells — one, 
Marisco, near Exeter ; and the other at St. Anthony in 
Roseland, Cornwall. The site has been in the Champer- 
nownes, Strodes, and Fowneses. 

Plympton Erie was chartered by its feudal lords. 
Baldwin de Redvers made it a borough town, and granted 
the burgesses its market and fairs in March, 1241. These 
were confirmed in 1284. Municipal functions were re- 
tained until 1859, when, in consequence of the charter 
conferring no exclusive jurisdiction as against the county, 
it was allowed to lapse. As a Parliamentary borough 
Plympton dated from 23rd Edward I., and it was con- 
tinuously represented until the fatal 1832. Few towns in 
Devon have had more distinguished representatives. 
Serjeant Hele sat for the borough under Elizabeth. 
Many of the Strode family, whose ancestral seat of 
Newnham is close by, were returned at various times ; 
and among them that William Strode who was one of 
the famous * five members.' Strange that a town of such 
marked Puritan proclivities should also have chosen such 
a staunch Royalist as Sir Nicholas Slanning. Sir George 

Plympton. 235 

Treby, the judge, and Sir John Maynard, were other 
notable members ; and, most notable of all, in 1685, Sir 
Christopher Wren became a * burgess ' of Plympton. In 
later days, the most prominent representative was Lord 
Castlereagh. When he sat, however, Plympton had 
long been a purely nomination borough ; one half of the 
representation belonging to the Trebys, and the other 
half to the Edgcumbes. 

Quaint as many of the surroundings of Plympton Erie 
still are, chief interest centres in the comparatively 
modern and modernized Grammar School. Founded 
from. the bequest of the great educational benefactor of 
Devon, Elize, or Elizeus, Hele, and erected in 1644, here 
was born, July 16, 1723, while his father, the Rev. Samuel 
Reynolds, was head-master, the greatest English portrait- 
painter, Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. The old dwelling 
has given place to a modern edifice ; but the school and 
its quaint cloister still remain — the school in which not 
only Reynolds, but Northcote was educated, which was 
the first school, moreover, of another President of the 
Royal Academy, Sir C. L. Eastlake, and of which 
Benjamin Robert Haydon was * head-boy ' in 1801. No 
school in England holds such a relation to Art, therefore, 
as the ancient Grammar School of Plympton. Sir Joshua 
never forgot his native town, and to the last kept up 
kindly relations. Nor was he by any means without 
honour in his own country. His townsmen were proud 
of him, and did him what respect lay in their power, 
electing him in 1773 their mayor ! On this occasion he 
gave the town his portrait, painted by himself; and it 
hung in the Guildhall until 1832, when the thrifty Cor- 
poration, to their lasting disgrace, sold it to the Earl of 
Egremont for £150. 

Of the families connected with Plympton and its neigh- 
bourhood, the Parkers have already been noted. The 
Strodes 01 Newnham, lately extinct in the male line. 

236 History of Devonshire. 

were seated at Strode, in Ermington, as early as the 
reign of Henry III. Newnham was acquired by 
marriage with a coheiress of the Newnhams, temp. 
Henry IV. Richard and William Strode, the two most 
notable members of the family, have been already 
mentioned. Dr. William Strode, poet and divine, died in 

The WooUcombes, who have been seated at Hemerdon 
for several generations, in the reign of Elizabeth lived on 
the adjoining estate of Challonsleigh. Chaddlewood was 
long in the extinct family of Snelling (now in Soltau 
Symons), and Beechwood is the seat of Lord Seaton. 

The adjacent parish of Brixton is associated with such 
old family names as Brixton, Calmady, Coplestone, 
Fortescue, Maynard, Drake, PoUexfen, and Hele ; but its 
chief claim to notice here is as the residence of that 
most worthy member of the wide-spreading family of 
Hele — Elize Hele, of WoUaton, who bequeathed in 1635 
the manor of Brixton Reigny and all his estates to 
charitable uses, and thus became the great school 
founder of his native county. 

It is a question whether the Heles really sprung from 
Hele near Bradninch, or Hele in Cornwood, where they 
can certainly be traced to the reign of Richard II. ; but 
the latter is probably a younger branch. Cornwood, 
noted in * Domesday ' as possessing three wild horses — 
ancestors, no doubt, of the native breed of Dartmoor 
ponies — is connected with several distinguished families. 
Chief among these was that of Ralegh, which obtained 
Fardell by marriage with the heiress of Newton. At this 
ancient mansion, now a farm-house, Wymond Ralegh, 
grandfather of Sir Walter Ralegh, lived ; and here no 
doubt Walter, the father, was born. There is a baseless 
tradition that it was also the birthplace of the great Sir 
Walter himself. That, however, was at East Hayes. 

Plympton. 237 

Slade, with its fine hall, once the seat of the family of 
that name, has long been the residence of the Spurrells, 
and their descendants, the Podes. Blachford is the seat 
of Lord Blachford, whose ancestors were sometime lead- 
ing merchants in Plymouth, and for many years filled 
chief places in the Corporation. Their original settlement 
in Comwood was Wisdome, of which place John Rogers 
was created baronet in 1698. The present is the first 
Lord Blachford, and was the eighth baronet. 

Plymstock Manor was part of the possessions of the 
Abbey of Tavistock under the Confessor, though not 
a portion of the original endowment, and a tradition 
attaches to its connection with that house which falls into 
place more appropriately in the section on Dartmoor. In 
Plymstock parish are the great limestone quarries of 
Oreston, out of which the material for the Pl3anouth 
breakwater was hewn, and in which were found the 
first bone -caves that formed the subject of scientific 
investigation and marked a new departure in geological 
discovery. There was much fighting here from time to 
time in connection with the siege of Plymouth, and traces 
of earthworks are yet visible. Here, too, was the site of 
the ancient Keltic settlement at Staddon referred to under 
Plymouth. Staddiscombe was the birthplace (1717) of 
the learned Nathaniel Foster, translator of Plato. It is 
also the reputed birthplace of Walter Britte, an able and 
active disciple 01 Wiclif. 

Wembury has already been mentioned as the probable 
site of the battle of Wicganbeorge. Its name has been 
interpreted to mean the * Viking's bury ' or fort ; while 
a kindred origin has been sought for the name of the 
adjoining parish of Revelstoke, the 'revel' representing 
reafcre^ a 'rover, robber,' and r^«jf«/= rapacious. More- 
over the situation of the respective churches close to the 
water's edge seems to have in it something of a com- 
memorative character. Wembury Church is dedicated 

238 History of Devonshire: 

to St. Werburga, and thus falls into place as one of the 
proofs of Mercian influence in Devon, advanced by Mr. 
T. Kerslake. Wembury, which belonged to Plympton 
Priory, does not appear in ' Domesday,' though some of 
its manors do. The manor of Wembury was acquired in 
1592 by Sir John Hele, the well-known serjeant-at-law, 
who erected what was regarded as the most magnificent 
mansion in the county. It was held for awhile by the 
PoUexfens; and early in the present century the house 
was pulled down by the then owner, Mr. Lockyer. 
Langdon was for several generations till recently the 
seat of the Calmadys. 

Radford, in Plymstock, has been a seat of the Harris 
family for nearly 500 years. Here Ralegh is said to have 
been kept in ward on his return in 1618, and here at times 
Drake stored much of his treasure. 

The last parish to be noted in connection with this 
group is Yealmpton. Risdon records a tradition that 
iEtSelwold had a palace here, and that here also his 
* lieutenant,' Lipsius, was interred ; and with Risdon the 
statement begins and ends. Under the name of Yealmpton 
the manor does not appear in * Domesday ' ; but it can 
hardly be other than the Elintone entered among the 
royal manors next to Plintona, ranking- next to it also in 
importance, and having one hide held by the clergy- of 
the ville — described in the Exon book as of St. Mary of 
Alentona — in alms. The use of E or A for Y in ' Domesday ' 
is usual ; and there are many reasons which combine to 
make this identification all but certain. 

In the churchyard at Yealmpton stands one of the 
ancient inscribed stones already noted under Tavistock, 
bearing one word only, but that variously read. The 
common rendering is torevs, and that is the reading 
current in the neighbourhood, where it is looked upon 
with some little interest, and traditionally regarded as 
commemorating some ancient chieftain or king. The 

Plympton. 239 

other reading is gorevs, but the point can hardly be 
regarded as definitely settled, and it may not be amiss to 
note that the ancient village of Tor is within a mile, and 
that the name, as it stands, is closely allied to that of the 
little river Torry at Plympton some five miles north, 
which, moreover, appears in 'Domesday '•as Torix. 

Kitley is now the chief seat of the ancient family of 
Bastard, which claim descent from the Robert Bastard 
who appears in * Domesday' as the holder of nine manors. 
They obtained Kitley by marriage with the heiress of the 
PoUexfens, Edmund Pcllexfen, the last male of the family, 
dying in 1710. Since then they have acquired several 
adjoining estates, including Bowdon, once the seat of a 
family of that name, Coffleet, and Lyneham. 

Lyneham, for nearly four centuries, was the seat of the 
great Devonshire family of Crocker, referred to in the 
already-quoted rhyme, who are now represented by the 
Bulteels. In Yealmpton Church is one of the finest 
brasses in the county, to Sir John Crocker of Lyneham, 
cupbearer to Edward IV. 

Windsor here was the seat of Richard Fortescue, from 
whom, according to Sir W. Pole, are descended the 
Fortescues of the east of England. Pitton was the 
residence of the North Devon WooUcombes before their 
removal to Ashbury, 



MoDBURY is one of the oldest market-towns in the county, 
and returned representatives to Parliament in the reign 
of Edward I. We know nothing of it until ' Domesday,' 
when one Richard was the tenant under the Earl of 
Moreton, who held it ' unjustly.' The parish comprises 
several ancient manors. Orcherton, at the time of the 
Survey, was held from the Earl by Reginald de Valletort. 
The Valletorts soon became the dominant race, and from 
them Modbury came to the Champernownes, who held it 
as the seat of the family from the reign of Edward II. 
until 1700. There were several distinguished members of 
this race, and one of them, Arthur Champernowne, was 
knighted in 1599 for his eminent services under the Earl 
of Essex in Ireland. There is a curious story that Queen 
Elizabeth was so exasperated by the refusal of the 
Champernowne of her time to lend her a iine band of 
musicians, that she found occasion to compel him to part 
with nineteen manors. 

A Priory was founded at Modbury, in the reign of 
Stephen, by an ancestor of the Champernownes, as a cell 
to the Abbey of St. Peter sur Dive, Normandy. When 
the alien houses were suppressed, this passed at first to 
Tavistock Abbey, but afterwards to Eton College. 

Wimpston, as noted heretofore, is the ancestral home 

Modbury. 241 

of the wide-branching Fortescues, who ceased to reside 
therein, however, in the reign of Elizabeth. 

Brownston was granted by Adam de Morville to the 
Abbey of Buckfastleigh, 

Among other families connected with Modbury are the 
Prideauxes and Heles of Orcherton ; the Saverys of 
Shilston ; the Edmerstons and Rouses of Edmerston ; the 
Challons of Leigh ; and the Traynes and Swetes of 
Trayne. It was a Savery of Shilston, Thomas, who about 
1697 invented the first practical steam-pumping apparatus. 

Old Port, a very remarkable fortification of unknown 
antiquity, on the Erme, gave name to the De la Ports, 
and is suggested by Mr. R. J. King as of older date than 
Saxon times. *It may have been the work of the 
Romans before their withdrawal .... or it may have 
been raised by some British King of Damnonia, working 
and building under Roman traditions, for defence against 
the Saxon host.' 

Modbury was the scene of the opening passage in the 
great drama of the Civil War, so far as Devonshire is 
concerned. All the chief towns had declared on the side 
of the Parliament, when, in 1642, Sir Ralph Hopton 
persuaded Sir Edmund Fortescue, of Fallapit, then High 
Sheriff, to call out the pos^e comitatus. Hopton and 
Slanning with a force of between two and three thousand 
captured Tavistock, and then Plympton, whence they 
marched to Modbury, which had been appointed for the 
rendezvous with Fortescue. Here some thousand trained 
soldiers and volunteers speedily collected ; and an attack 
in force upon Plymouth would not long have been delayed, 
had not Colonel Ruthen, in command there, taken the initia- 
tive. Very early in the morning he despatched about 
500 horse and dragoons, as if an attack on Tavistock were 
intended. Speedily wheeling southward, however, they 
came round through Ivybridge, and fell upon Modbury 
quite unexpectedly, about nine in the morning, after a 


242 History of Devonshire. 

five hours' inarch. The day was won at once. The 
trained bands, crying out * The troopers are come !' ran 
away, leaving their arms behind them; the unarmed ^oss^, 
who were mostly at Modbury sorely against their will, were 
no whit slow in following the example. Resistance there 
was none, save on the part of Sir Edmund Fortescue and 
his friends, who garrisoned the castellated house of Mr. 
Champemowne, and made a stout defence until it was 
fired and fiirther resistance was hopeless. With the loss 
of one man the Roundheads thus not only dispersed an 
embryo army, but took a number of important prisoners 
— ^the High SheriflF ; John Fortescue, his predecessor iu 
that ofl&ce; Sir Edward Seymour; Edward Seymour, M.P., 
his eldest son ; Colonel Henry Champemowne ; Arthur 
Basset ; Thomas Shipcote, the Clerk of the Peace — alto- 
gether about a score of prominent Royalists, who were 
straightway shipped from Dartmouth to London. 

Modbury is probably the last place in the West of 
England where the old adage, * Good wine needs no bush,' 
had an association in custom. The great fair at Modbury 
— known as St George's Fair, and held for nine days — ^is 
still proclaimed by the manor portreeve and borough jury 
in ancient form upon the spot where once stood the market 
cross, and within the last fifty years it was the custom in 
the town to hang out a holly bush from private houses where 
drink was being sold during fair-time, as an indication of 
the fact. The bush did duty for an Excise Ucense in the 
old days, and the custom appears to have lingered on at 
Modbury long after it had ceased to be legal. The fair 
was one of the most important in the district. Within 
living memory it afforded the only opportunity for the 
purchase of cloth in the town; and travelling braziers 
were accustomed to ply their avocation only on these 

Ermington was a market-town under a grant made in 
1294. The manor and hundred had been given by 

Modbur^. 243 

Henry I. to Matilda Peverell. Strachleigh was the seat 
of a family of that name for ten descents from the reign 
of Henry HI. The last of the name died in 1583; and 
the Strachleigh brass is one of the features of the church. 
Another is the fact that the altar continued from the 
Reformation to be set tablewise, and enclosed by a balus- 
trade. The church belonged to the Priory of Montacute. 
Strode has already been mentioned as the original seat of 
the Strodes. Ivybridge in like manner gave name to its 
owners, thence passing to the Bonviles. Woodland is 
noteworthy for the fact that the last male of that ilk, Sir 
Walter de Woodland, was a follower and attendant of the 
Black Prince. The tradition is yet current in the parish, 
of the fall, near Strachleigh, in 1623, of a meteoric stone 
weighing 23 lb. 

Harford has a place in history as the native parish of 
John Prideaux, Bishop of Worcester (1578-1650), whose 
success in life, singularly enough, dated from a disappoint- 
ment that at the time cut him to the heart — his rejection 
for the post of parish clerk of the adjoining parish of 
Ugborough. By the kindly help of the mother of Sir 
Edmund Fowel (a family long settled at Fowelscombe), 
he found his way to Oxford, and rose from the kitchen of 
Exeter College in the short space of sixteen years to . its 
rectorship ; thence passing in 1641 to the see of Worcester. 
Ejected when the Puritan party obtained the upper hand 
— a fate that was certain to so decided and ardent a 
politician and theologian — he bore his reverses with un- 
ruffled equanimity, and died cheerfully in pious poverty ; 
a singular contrast to his miserable depression when he 
failed in his clerkship candidature. He had learnt better 
what failure really was. * If I had been chosen clerk of 
Ugborough I had never been Bishop of Worcester.* In 
Harford Church is a monument erected by Prideaux to 
his father and mother, and one to Thomas Williams, 
Speaker of the House of Commons in 1602. 

16 — 2 

244 History of Devonshire. 

Ugborough was one of the manors of the Briweres, and 
passed to the Mohuns. Fowelscombe, in this parish, was 
the original seat of the Fowel family, created baronets 
in 1661. At Widcombe here was born, in 1620, Admiral 
Sir John Kempthome, who first showed his mettle by 
engaging in the frigate Mary Rose a squadron of seven 
Turkish men-of-war, and sinking or capturing the whole. 
He was made Admiral for his distinguished services in 
1665, under the Duke of York, and took part in several 
engagements with the Dutch, as well as that at Solebay. 
Subsequently one of the Commissioners of the Navy, he 
died at Portsmouth in 1679. 

Holbeton tithes were appropriated to the Priory of 
Polsloe, and the manor of Battisborough belonged to the 
Abbey of Buckfastleigh. The manor of Holbeton passed, 
with that of Ermington, to Matilda Peverell. Flete, the 
most important estate in the parish, continued in the 
Pamerells from the Conquest till the reign of Edward HI. 
It was the chief seat of the Heles, and came to the Biilteel 
family by entail. The house has been recently rebuilt by 
its present owner, Mr. Mildmay, a connection of the 
Bulteel family ; and Membland, long the residence of the 
Hillersdons, whom the Bulteels represent, now belongs to 
Mr. Baring, another connection, and one of the old 
Devonshire Baring stock. Pamflete is now the seat of 
the representative of the Bulteels, Mr. John Crocker 

Kingston, which was included in the Peverell grant, 
was afterwards in the Martyns, Audleys, Bourchiers, and 
Wreys. Wonwell gave name to a family long extinct. 

Bigbury was held by lords of that name as early as the 
reign of John ; and after nine descents was brought by a 
coheiress to one of the Champernownes of Beer Ferrers, 
from whom it descended through the Willoughbys to the 
Paulets. There is a fifteenth-century Bigbury brass in 
the church. 



The well-built and thriving little town of Kingsbridge, 
though left out in the cold by abortive railway schemes, 
and dependent for communication upon coaches after the 
olden fashion, has long distanced Modbury in the race for 
the honour and profit of being the chief town of the 
South Hams. This, of course, is largely due to its 
position at the head of the long many-branched estuarine 
creek which divides the great southern promontory of 
Devon, with its bold headlands — the Bolt Head and Tail, 
Prawle Point, and the Start — into two nearly equal 
portions. Of this district it forms not only the natural, 
but the topographical centre; and the wonder perhaps 
rather is that it has not developed still more important 

The manors of Kingsbridge and Churchstow were, in 
the thirteenth centuiy, the property of the Abbey of 
Buckfast. Originally Kingsbridge had been a part of 
Churchstow ; but the growth of a little centre of popula- 
tion at the head of the ' Kingsbridge River ' made special 
provision for its spiritual wants necessary. A chapel was 
accordingly erected, and dedicated to St. Edmund, king 
and martyr. This served its purpose for the time, but 
burials had still to be performed at Churchstow ; and as 
the daughter village grew, this burden became too heavy 

246 History of Devonshire. 

to be borne. In 1414 (Aug. 26), therefore, probably at 
the instance of Abbot Slade, Bishop Stafford consecrated 
the Chapel of St. Edmund a parish church, and blessed 
its cemetery. The further growth of the community is 
shown by the fact that some half-century later the Abbey 
obtained a grant for their town of Kingsbridge of a weekly 
market, and a three-days' fair, though the market, at 
least, was of far older date. 

The earliest allusion to Kingsbridge as a borough occurs 
in the Hundred Rolls. When the Abbot of Buckfast was 
summoned, in 1276, to answer for the rights claimed by 
him in the manor of ChuTchstow, the jury found that 
within that manor there was a new borough, which 
answered for itself by six jurors, and had a market on 
Friday, with a separate assize of bread and ale. This, 
then, was Kingsbridge, though it is about fifty years later 
that the word is first found. As in the case of Bridgewater, 
the bridge in the name is a corruption, and the true title 
Kingsburg, though what the King had to do with it is by 
no means clear. 

Up to the time of the Dissolution, Churchstow and 
Kingsbridge remained appendant to the Abbey of Buck- 
fast. They were then granted to Sir WilUam Petre, and 
in his descendants they remained until 1793, when they 
were purchased by the Scobells. Kingsbridge Manor is 
now the property of Mr. Hurrell. 

Though the distinction is commonly sunken. Kings- 
bridge really consists of two little towns — long since one 
in fact, though not de jure — Kingsbridge and Dodbrooke. 
Of these the latter is by far the older member of the twin 
community. Probably named from a Saxon owner, 
Dodda the thegn, at * Domesday ' we find it one of the 
few Devonshire manors in female hands, its lady being 
Godeva, widow of Brictric the Sheriff. That it early 
assumed some importance is proven by the grant of a 
weekly market and annual fair, in 1256. For a long 

Kingsbfidge and Salcombe. 247 

'^period the manor was in the Champernownes, the most 
interesting point in its personal history, A large woollen 
trade was carried on here well on into the present century. 

The southern district of Devon, which is known in the 
county as the South Hams, produces a beverage of archaeo- 
logical interest — * white ale/ chiefly brewed now in the 
neighbourhood of Kingsbridge, where it was tithable 
from time immemorial, and commonly held to be of 
purely local origin. It is made of malt wort, wheaten 
flour, and eggs, and is fermented with a material called 
* grout,' the preparation of which is kept a secret. Not 
many years ago this * white ale ' was the common drink 
of the district ; but its use is rapidly dying out with its 
old friends. Mr. P. Karkeek, who has made the beverage 
a study, has come to the interesting conclusion that it is 
really the old English ale, described by all contemporary 
authorities as a thicker drink than beer, which is dis- 
tinguished from ale by the addition of hops — in short, 
that ' the white ale of the South Hams is a survival in 
some form of the ale once drunk by our forefathers all 
over England.' 

Kingsbridge Church contains a monument to George 
Hughes, the leader in the middle of the seventeenth 
century of the Puritan clergy of Devonshire, who, when 
ejected from Plymouth, retired to this little place to 
end his days. The inscription is by his son-in-law, John 

The town has its full share of worthies. Thomas 
Crispin, in 1670, was the founder of the Grammar School, 
further endowed with exhibitions by William Duncombe, 
who, under his will, in 1698, established a lectureship. 
Here also lived at Knowle for many years, and here died 
in 1815, the celebrated ornithologist. Colonel Montagu. 
The most worthy native was William Cookworthy, 
chemist and potter, the discoverer of china clay and 
china stone in Cornwall, and the founder of the Plymouth 

248 History of Devonshire. 

China Works, where the first true porcelain made in 
England was produced, and the productions of which are 
now most highly valued. Born at Kingsbridge in 1705, 
and left when quite a lad by the death of his father, who 
was a weaver, in very poor circumstances, he walked to 
London to enter on his duties as an apprentice with a 
firm of chemists, named Bevan. By their aid, he sub- 
sequently established a drug business in Plymouth, and 
lived in that town until his death, in i78o. He made his 
great discovery of the existence of the materials for the 
production of porcelain between the years 1745-50 ; and, 
after long experimenting, reached such perfection in their 
use, that he obtained a patent in 1768, and manufactured 
large quantities of china at Plymouth in the next few 
years, after which the factory was removed to Bristol. 
Cookworthy was a singular mixture of Quaker and 
Swedenborgian, and a firm believer in the divining-rod. 

A more widely known, though personally a far inferior, 
worthy was the notorious Dr. Wolcot, whose writings 
are familiar under the name of * Peter Pindar.' He was 
born at Dodbrooke (1738-1819), and was the most power- 
ful master of forceful satire of a rough-and-ready type in 
the English tongue — our greatest caricaturist in rhyme. 
Most unpleasant in character, he claims praise less for 
his abilities than for his sturdy independence, and for the 
manner in which he discovered and encouraged the 
genius of John Opie, R.A. 

Fallapit, in East AUington, or Alvington, was until 
recently the seat for several centuries of one of the 
branches of the Fortescues, coming to them by marriage 
with the heiress of the Fallapits. Garston, in West 
Alvington, is an ancient seat of the Bastards, whence 
they removed to Kitley, Almost the whole of the Kings- 
bridge promontory is celebrated for the mildness of its 
climate; and at Garston, as at Combe Royal and at 

Kingsbridge and Salcombe. 249 

Salcombe, orange and lemon trees flourish in the open 
air to an extent unknown elsewhere in England. As 
Malborough, South Milton, and South Huish are daughter 
churches to West Alvington, this happy mildness may 
be regarded as the peculiar prerogative of that parish. 
Bowringsleigh, here, was the property and residence of 
the ancient family of Bowring. 

Thurlestone, which lies near the mouth of the Avon, 
takes its name from a remarkable natural arch on the 
coast, known as Thurlestone Rock = the stone that is 
pierced or * thirled.' The arch is of red Triassic con- 
glomerate, resting uncomformably upon Devonian clay 
slate. The parish figures in * Domesday' as Torlestan, held 
in demesne by Judhel of Totnes, with a soldier as under 
tenant, and the large enumerated population of thirty- 

Ilton, in Malborough, once belonged to the Bozuns, 
then to the Chiverstons, and finally came to the Courtenays. 
Sir John Chiverston built the fortified mansion, afterwards 
known as Ilton Castle, in 1335. In right of their estates 
in Malborough the Courtenays exercise important rights 
of wreckage along the coast ; and used to hold Courts of 
Admiralty at the various maritime villages within the 
manors of their royalty. Such courts were usually con- 
vened by the manor steward on the occasion of any 
wreck, and stringent codes of laws were enforced. 

A small district near the Bolt Head, known as the 
* Sewers ' from the frequent occurrence of that name in 
East", West, Middle, and Lower Sewers, has been suggested 
as marking the site of an early Saxon settlement — ^reading 
sewer as sa-ware = * sea-dwellers.' 

Salcombe, in the parish of Malborough, is the chief 
port of the Kingsbridge district, lying on the western side 
of the estuary near its mouth, and has of late risen into 
some favour as a seaside and invalid resort. For this it 
is excellently adapted by the beauty and grandeur of the 

250 History of Devonshire. 

scenery in the neighbourhood, and by the mildness of its 
climate. On the opposite side of the water is Portlemouth, 
which seems to derive its name from its position, and 
which appears in some of the records of the early Middle 
Ages as the name of the harbour generally. 

Salcombe Castle was the last place in Devon which 
adhered to the cause of Charles I. The ruins still stand 
on a semi-insular rock in the Salcombe estuary, a position 
of great strength and of considerable importance. The 
Castle dates from the reign of Henry VIII., and was 
one of the numerous little strengths built by him on the 
Western coasts to defend the principal ports from sudden 
forays. When the war between Charles and his Parlia- 
ment broke out it had long fallen into decay, and was 
commonly known as the * Old BuUworke.* Sir Edmund 
Fortescue of Fallapit, the Royalist High Sheriff of Devon 
in 1642, and for many months a prisoner at Winchester 
House and Windsor Castle, on his release undertook to 
refortify and man the ancient walls. Prince Maurice 
gave him a commission for this purpose in December, 
1643, while he was engaged in the siege of Plymouth; and 
Fortescue evidently carried out his work thoroughly. 

Little is known of the history of Fort Charles, as 
Fortescue named the Castle, except in its last stage. On 
January 16, 1646, Fairfax captured Dartmouth, and im- 
mediately set forces to watch Fort Charles, under Colonel 
Inglesby. It was then garrisoned by sixty-six men, Sir 
Edmund being Governor ; and there were plenty of pro- 
visions and munitions of war. As it was impregnable to 
ordinary attack, a regular siege had to be made. This 
was conducted by Colonel Weldon, Parliamentary Governor 
at Plymouth, the blockade of which had been raised by 
Fairfax. Weldon brought a train of siege artillery with 
him from Plymouth, and the battery commenced on the 
last week in January. Very little damage was done by 
the firing on either side ; and if a memorandum left by 

Kingsbridge and Salcombe. 251 

Sir Edmund is to be accepted as a complete return, only 
one of the garrison was killed and two wounded, while, 
on the other hand, only one of the besiegers is recorded 
to have been slain. 

The siege lasted nearly four months, and the surrender 
was probably due to the hopelessness of continuing the 
struggle. The Royalist cause was utterly lost, and nothing 
was to be gained by holding out. Moreover the blockade 
was strictly kept; and provisions no doubt were beginning 
to run short, when, on the 7th of May, the articles of 
surrender were agreed upon. They were most honourable 
to the defenders. The garrison marched to Fallapit, with 
drums beating, colours flying, muskets and bandaliers; nor 
did they deliver up their guns until they had fired three 
volleys. All the officers kept their arms, all the officers 
and men their private property; and all had leave to 
depart to their houses, and three months in which to 
make their peace with Parliament or leave the kingdom. 
As to the fort itself, it was provided that it was never to 
be known by any other name than that of Fort Charles, 
and that neither it nor any coat of arms belonging to it 
was to be defaced. The key of the Castle is still in the 
possession of Sir Edmund's representative. 

There is a curious local tradition attaching to a little 
corner of land — some acre in extent — at Splatt Cove, in 
Salcombe Harbour, v It belongs to the Bastard family, 
and the legend is that their Norman ancestor had com- 
mand of one of the vessels of the Conqueror's fleet, which 
was driven by a gale into Salcombe, and that it was 
upon this very spot the leader and his men landed. The 
retention of the land by the Bastards is ascribed by the 
country folk to this historical connection. Mr. Karkeek, 
however, has shown not only that the legend has no 
pedigree, but that it is inconsistent with known facts. 
The name of Robert the Bastard does not occur in the 
Battle Abbey Roll, and though he is mentioned in 

252 History of Devonshire, 

Domesday/ neither of his Devonshire manors can be 
connected with Splatt Cove. 

Hope Cove has its connection with the great Armada 
drama. The Si. Peter the Great, one of the Spanish 
hospital ships, had escaped with the remnant of the fleet, 
rounded Scotland, and was on her way homeward, when 
by stress of weather she was driven upon the rocks on 
this inhospitable coast, much to the advantage of the 
country folk, who made liberal spoil. Out of 190 persons 
on board, about 150 were saved. An effort was made to 
recover the stores, and special inquiry had to that end by 
Anthony Ashley, but it was not very productive. 

Portlemouth, already noted, contains the manor of 
West Prawle, one of the estates with which Blundell 
endowed his school at Tiverton. ScobbahuU, in the 
adjacent parish of South Pool, gave name to the family 
of Scobell. 

Stokenham is connected with several families of note. 
Given by John to Matthew Fitzherbert, it continued for 
several generations in his descendants, and the last of the 
family, Matthew Fitzjohn, was summoned to Parliament 
by Edward I. as a baron. Dying without an heir, the 
manor passed to the King, and Edward gave it to Ralph 
de Monthermer to be held of the Crown. As it had been 
held under the Courtenays of the honour of Plympton, 
the Earl of Devon petitioned Parliament for the redress 
of this grievance, which he obtained. The manor 
descended through the Montacutes and Pooles to Hastings, 
Earl of Huntingdon, and was by him sold to the 
Amerediths. Stokenham Church once belonged to the 
Priory of Bisham, in Somerset. The church of the ad- 
joining parish of Sherford is a daughter to Stokenham, 
but Sherford Manor was part of the estates of St. Nicholas 
Priory, Exeter. Kennedon, in this parish, in the fifteenth 
century became a seat of the family of Hals. Here lived 
John Hals, Justice of the Common Pleas in 1423, and 

Kingsbridge and Salcombe. 253 

here was born his son, of the same name, who, in 1450, 
was made Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. 

Slapton has several claims to notice. It belonged to 
the ancient family of De Brian as early as the reign of 
Henry II., and descended to the Percy Earls of Northum- 
berland, as the representative of Sir Guy de Brian the 
younger, through the sole heiress. The St. Maurs 
claimed it ineffectually by descent from Guy's sister. The 
Percys sold the manor to the Arundells of Wardour. 
Guy de Brian, one of the first Knights of the Garter, 
founded a collegiate chantry at Slapton in 1373, and the 
remains of his house are known as Poole Priory. Here 
lived for several years, on his return from captivity in 
Spain, Sir Richard Hawkins, son of Sir John, from whom 
the Hawkinses of Kingsbridge were descended. Slapton 
Lea is a long lake stocked with fresh-water fish in pro- 
fusion, separated from the sea simply by a bar of sand 
and gravel. Stockleigh, a seat of the Newman family, 
whose principal residence is at Mamhead, is close by; 
and not far distant is the quaint fishing village of Torcross. 
These, however, are in Stokenham. The Courtenays 
held Slapton of the Bishops of Exeter by stewartry of the 
Installation Feasts, as detailed under Crediton. 

The Barton of Hach Arundell, in Loddiswell parish, 
has a double family name, having at one time belonged to 
the Haches, and at another to the Arundells. License 
was granted, about 1463, to Thomas Gyll, junr., to 
castellate his mansion at Hach Arundell, and enclose a 
park. As Htche was the holder of the manor T.R.E., 
after which it passed to Judhel of Totnes, it seems no 
way improbable that Hach may in the first place have 
been named from him. The Avon is a good salmon river 
now, and Judhel's fishery at Loddiswell returned thirty 
salmon yearly. 


TOTNES is the first link in the legendary history of 
England. Brutus, the Trojan, according to early Welsh 
and Breton tradition, landed 'on the coast of Totnes;' 
and in the pages of Geoffrey of Monmouth one may read 
the full-blown myth, ending in the destruction of the last 
of the aboriginal giants — Goemagot — by Corinaeus, after- 
wards Duke of Cornwall. There was a time when all 
this was deemed purely historical. Totnes, claiming to 
be the landing-place of Brutus, has yet a traditional 
' Brutus Stone,' on which the Trojan hero is said to have 
stepped when he landed — a boulder of no great dimensions, 
well up the main street. Plymouth cherished the belief 
that the combat between Corinjeus and Goemagot took 
place upon her Hoe ; and so far back as the fifteenth 
century there were graven in the sward of that eminence 
two huge figures, popularly supposed to represent the 
combatants, renewed as need was, and of unknown 
antiquity. It is quite possible, indeed, that both the 
'Brutus Stone' of Totnes and the 'Gogmagog' of 
Plymouth originated (with the Gog and Magog of 
London City) in the popularity of Geoffrey's story. 
Historically they cannot be carried back so for. 
A careful examination of the passages in the older 

Totnes. 255 

Chronicles wherein Totnes is noticed shows, however, 
that this was not the modern town, Geoffrey of Mon- 
mouth speaks of the * coast * of Totnes, and the * shore ' 
of Totnes, and the * port ' of Totnes, and always with 
3ome such qualification. The inference, therefore, is that 
the name was used by ancient writers as that of a district. 
It was evidently so employed by Higden in his * Poty- 
chronicon,' in quoting the length of Britain as 800 miles, 
a * Totonesio litore,' rendered by Trevisa * from the clyf 
of Totonesse,' which is really only another name for the 
Land's End. Totnes thus seems to be in truth the 
ancient name for the south-western promontory of 
England, perhaps a name for Britain itself, in which 
case we can understand somewhat of the motive that led 
early etymologists to derive Britain from Brute, or 
Brutus. The myth may be so far true that an elder 
name was supplanted, and that it lingered longest in the 
western promontory. Whether the modern Totnes is 
nominally the successor of the ancient title, the narrow 
area into which this vestige of far antiquity has shrunk, 
may be doubtful, for the word is as capable of a Teutonic 
derivation as of a Keltic. The last syllable may be the 
Northern nesSy but it may as well be the Keltic enys=^ 

* island.' And so while Tot may be an * enclosure,' it may 
equally be the Dod which still exists on the west coast in 
the name of the Dodman headland — the 'prominent 
rock' (rmxi^maen, a stone). Totnes, therefore, can be 
read * the projecting or prominent island.' The specula- 
tion may be pardoned in dealing with a point of such 
singular interest. In any case, it seems probable that 
this story of Brutus the Trojan is not absolute fable, but 
the traditionary record of the earliest invasion of the land 
by an historic people. 

The most amusing derivation for the name of the town 
is that quoted by Westcote and Risdon — Tout aP aise = 

* all at ease ' 1 presumed to represent the feelings of Brutus 

256 History of Devonshire. 

when he stepped on shore, and exclaimed in the words of 
a traditional couplet : 

* Here I stand, and here I rest, 
And this place shall be called Totnes.' 

But the 'authorities' on this head are very sceptical 
here concerning the extent of the French education which 
Brutus had received when — 

' The Frenche of Parys was to cdle unknowne.' 

This same line of argument disposes also of the idea 
that Vespasian landed at Totnes town instead of simply 
on the 'Totnes shore,' which again has led to Exeter 
being mistakenly identified as Caer Pensauelcoit, as in 
Geoffrey's gloss, * quae Exonia vocatur/ Mr. T. Kerslake 
has pointed out that in all probability the oldest name for 
the place at which Vespasian landed is Talnas, as given 
in the *Brut Tysilio.' This, he argues, would resolve itself 
into H'Aln-aSj and suggests that the landing really took 
place in Ptolemy's estuary of the Alaunas, or Christchurch 
Haven ; and that Pensauelcoit is to be found at Pensel- 
wood, in the Somerset, Dorset, and Wilts border-land, in 
which, indeed, the old name is still visibly extant. 

Totnes has been claimed as a Roman station, but 
without adequate authority. An ancient paved way lead- 
ing towards Berry Pomeroy may mark the line of a 
Roman road, but all that can definitely be said is that the 
town does stand on the line of one of the ancient British 
trackways. The idea that it was connected with the 
Fosseway is corrected elsewhere. 

Totnes was an Anglo-Saxon mint, and continued to 
issue coins for some time after the Conquest; but only 
twenty-six varieties of pennies are known to have been 
struck here, and the probability is that the number was 
considerably greater. The extant series commences with 
^^elred II., who began his reign in 979, and continues 
under Cnut. Then, however, there is a gap, and nothing 

Totnes, 257 

more is known of Totnes mintage, save a penny of Rufus. 
Probably further research by numismatologists in this 
direction would be rewarded. It can very well be under- 
stood that the mint would cease its operations when the 
Norman lord of the town fell under the displeasure of 
Rufus, but intermission of the nature suggested is not so 
easily accounted for. 

The definite history of Totnes prior to the Conquest is 
scanty ; but its position at the time of the compilation of 
* Domesday* shows not only that it was then a town of con- 
siderable importance, but that it must have been of great 
antiquity to have attained such a position. One of the 
four burghs of Devon, it had a larger population than 
either of its rivals, save Exeter, having ninety-five burgesses 
within the burgh and fifteen without tilling the land. This 
would give the community a total population of 500 or 600, 
while Exeter in all probability had some 2,500 to 3,000. 

Before the Conquest Totnes formed part of the demesne 
of the Confessor. William gave it with 107 manors in 
Devon to his follower, Judhel or Joel, who made Totnes 
his chief residence, and was thereafter named Judhel of 
Totnes. An active and liberal man, Judhel found time, 
before he was banished by Rufus, to leave his mark upon 
the head of his barony. Totnes Castle is doubtfully said 
to have been built by him. The keep, which remains in 
fine preservation, seems of later date ; and probably re- 
placed the * strength ' which he undoubtedly reared upon 
the mound that still marks the site of the ancient British 
tortalice. The walls of the town are far later than his 
time ; and the most important of the two gates which 
continue is not earlier than the sixteenth century. The 
present circumvallation dates in all probability from 1265, 
when Henry III. gave the burgesses liberty to enclose 
the town with a wall, and to collect * murage ' for that 

But Judhel undoubtedly founded the Priory of St. Mary, 


258 History of Devonshire. 

portions of which are now used as the Guildhall, prisons, 
and sexton's house; he also granted the Church of St. 
Mary of Totnes to the great Benedictine monastery of 
Sts. Sergius and Bacchus at Angers, 

When Judhel was banished the barony was given to 
Roger de Novant. Under John it was divided, Henry 
de Novant holding one moiety and William de Bruce, a 
grandson of Judhel, the other. The Novant half passed 
to the Valletorts, and then to the Cantelupes, who also 
acquired the remaining portion. The heiress of Cantelupe 
brought the barony to Lord Zouch, and in that family it 
remained until, on the attainder of John Lord Zouch in 
i486 for siding with Richard IIL, Henry VIL gave the 
castle and lordship to Sir Richard Edgcumbe of Cotehele. 
Sir Piers Edgcumbe, in 1559, sold the manor to the Cor- 
poration ; and the barony was bought by Lord Edward 
Seymour of Berry. It subsequently went out of the 
Seymour family, but was again acquired by them, and 
has descended to the Duke of Somerset. 

The earliest known charter of the borough was granted 
in 1215 by John, who authorized the foundation of a Guild 
Merchant ; and extant documents relating to this Guild 
date back very nearly to this period. Thus there is still 
preserved on the back of an old roll of the members a 
memorandum of an agreement between the burgesses of 
Totnes and the Abbot and Convent of Buckfast in 1236, 
that the abbot and monks had been received into the 
Guild to buy, but not to sell. Two years later, when 
William de Cantelupe, as lord of the manor, exempted 
the Abbot and Convent of Torre from payment of tolls, 
the Guild were able to exact from the fraternity an annual 
acknowledgment of two shillings for this concession, so 
that independent municipal rights certainly existed. A 
curious feature of the rolls of the Guildry, which continue 
down to 1377, is that on the admission of each new 
member, his or her seat, in order of precedence, is care- 

Totnes. 259 

fully defined. A still more interesting point is the well- 
marked development of the Guild Merchant into the 
Municipal Corporation. This is clearly shown : the rolls 
continue the proceedings of the Common Court of the 
Guild into the Court of the Borough of Totnes, which 
merges in the Court of the Mayor. The first record of 
the election of a mayor is in 1377, and from that date to 
the present day, the list of mayors of Totnes is complete 
and uninterrupted. 

The town first sent members of Parliament in 1295, 
and survived the fatal 1832, but acquired so evil a reputa- 
tion that it was disfranchised in 1867. 

The Priory was dissolved in 1542, and the site granted 
to Katherine Champernowne and others. During the 
reign of Edward VI. the appropriation of a portion for 
educational purposes originated the Grammar School, 
still held in the original building adjoining the Guildhall. 
The Guildhall itself, which also formed part of the Priory, 
was granted to the Corporation by Elizabeth. 

Totnes men have played a conspicuous part in the 
national history; but the town iiseli— pace Brutus — has 
not been the scene of many notable events. Its annals 
are mainly those of a thrifty, energetic, prosperous manu- 
facturing and trading community, concerned in its own 
affairs. Important so far back as the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries, its woollen manufacture flourished for some 
five hundred years. Its commerce, too, was considerable, 
especially with France. But the Totnes folk were not 
oblivious of outside duties. A Totnes man. Sir Edmund 
Lye, ranks among the boldest seamen of Elizabethan 
days, and as one of the heroes who bore his part in the 
defeat of the Invincible Armada. Totnes contributed 
largely towards the fitting out of the Crescent and the 
Hart, two vessels sent from Dartmouth to join the Anti- 
Armada fleet. 

It was under the Stuarts, however, that Totnes made 

17 — 2 

26o History of Devonshire. 

itself most conspicuous in national affairs. When in 
1625 Charles L passed through the town on his way to 
review his expedition at Plymouth, he had a most hearty 
and loyal reception, accompanied with a gift of £200 in 
' a fssdre purse.' Perhaps he bore this in mind when, in 
the following year, he created George Carew, Elizabeth's 
Lord President of Munster, Earl of Totnes. It is certain 
that the Totnes folk set their loyalty on one side when 
ship-money was levied, for one of the foremost remonstrants 
against this impost was a Totnes man, the chosen repre- 
sentative of the borough. Sir Edward Giles of Bowden. 
Moreover, when the levy was made, many of the inhabi- 
tants refused to pay. They would be the less disposed to 
do so, no doubt, because they had been great sufferers by 
the ravages of the Turkish and Sallee pirates on the coast 
of Devon, which the royal ships were utterly unable to 
suppress. And the mind of the burgesses was abundantly 
evident when they sent to the Long Parliament men of 
such note as Oliver St. John, Hampden's counsel, and 
Serjeant Maynard. 

It seems somewhat strange that, with this marked 
Parliamentary sympathy, Totnes was not the scene of any 
fighting, but was occupied without conflict by the soldiers 
of each side in turn. Naturally, however, it had its share 
of the burdens of war. Goring's soldiers were of very bad 
repute, and it was agreed that ^f 150 should be given him 
*for the preservation and more safetye' of the town.. 
Prince Charles (afterwards Charles II.) had jf 100, and his 
ofiicers demanded ^f 10 more ; while 3^42 13s. 4d. was 
required by the King's friends at Exeter ; and 3^7 was 
actually paid to keep Goring's horse out of the town.. 
When Goring left Totnes in January, 1646, Fairfax 
marched in. His troops were no way objectionable, but 
it cost the inhabitants over 3^170 to supply them with 
clothing. To the Roundheads succeeded a third visitor,, 
the worst of the series. The plague, which in 1590 had 

Totnes. 261 

carried off 258 persons, reappeared, and this time had 276 
victims. The place was almost deserted, and the grass 
grew in the streets. 

Like nearly all the boroughs of the West, Totnes mani- 
fested the national reaction of feeling at the Restoration, 
and indeed in rather exaggerated form. The King was 
reminded that the burgesses had joined in the demand for 
a free Parliament ; the present made him when Goring^s 
men were bribed to behave themselves was called to hir. 
mind ; and then was left to him the settlement of al) 
matters in Church and State. One of the members 
chosen to Charles's first Parliament was Thomas Clifford, 
the * C * of the Cabal. Charles was not ungrateful. His 
father's Earl of Totnes had held the title but three years ; 
he gave a Totnes viscountcy in 1675 to his natural son, 
Charles FitzCharles, Baron Dartmouth and Earl of Ply- 
mouth ; and this lasted five years. What was more to the 
purpose, however, was his grant of a charter, in 1684, 
under which a wool-market was established. 

By the time James succeeded, Totnes had very nearly 
returned to its old Puritan mind. Some, at least, of the 
inhabitants were among the followers of Monmouth ; and 
it was with reason, therefore, that Jeffries selected the 
town for the display of the mangled remains of some of 
his unfortunate victims. The spirit of the Corporation 
was more clearly manifested when, in 1687, they were 
called upon to admit Sir John Southcote, a Roman 
Catholic, without the administration of the oaths, to the 
place of Recorder, from which Sir Edward Seymour, the 
well-known leader of the country party, had been removed. 
They refused, and their charter was taken away ; to be 
restored, however, in the following October, when the 
movements of the Prince of Orange were understood. 
When the old charter was seized, the old corporation 
were displaced, and among the new corporation South- 
cote of course found room. 

262 History of Devonshire. 

Under the Revolution regime Totnes became loyal once 
more; and its loyalty was shown most conspicuously 
when, in 1725, it was proposed to levy a land-tax of four 
shillings in the pound for warlike purposes. The Cor- 
poration petitioned in favour of the tax, and expressed 
themselves willing to pay thie other sixteen shillings rather 
than submit to a foreign yoke ! 

Totnes, on the score of its ancient * rows,* often termed 
piazzas, has been appropriately called *the Chester of 
Devon.' Portions of these piazzas are extremely ancient. 
There is an arch of the twelfth century, and several pillars 
of the fifteenth, carrying one back to the palmy days of 
the old town, when it was one of the chief clothing marts 
of the kingdom — as the phrase ' the hose of fine Totnes,* 
celebrated throughout the land, plainly indicates. There 
are still also a few perfect Elizabethan fa9ades of con- 
siderable interest, and some rich ceilings of the time of 
Charles IL Yet more noteworthy is the fine Renais- 
sance carving in a room of the time of Henry VIII., 
which forms the upper chamber of the East Gate ; and 
which bears testimony, not only to the taste, but to the 
loyalty of the authorities in the earlier half of the sixteenth 
century, since the central features of the composition are 
heads of Henry and of Anne Boleyn. 

Totnes has distinguished itself in connection with 
literature and art. Setting aside the fact that John 
Prince, the author of the well-known * Worthies of Devon,' 
was vicar of Totnes before he became vicar of Berry 
Pomeroy adjoining, and wrote his delightful work, it is 
something for one little community to be able to claim 
such men as Edward Lye (1694-1767), the learned Anglo- 
Saxon scholar and the author of the * Dictionarium Saxonico 
et Gothico-Latinum,' great-grandson oi Sir Edmund Lye ; 
as Benjamin Kennicott (1718-1783), the distinguished 
Hebraist, son of the parish clerk of Totnes — himself 
master of its charity school ere he went to college and 

Totnes. 263 

acquired that learning which resulted in the production 
(1776-80) of his great work on the text of the Hebrew 
Scriptures ; and as William Brockedon, painter, writer, 
and inventor (1787-1854). Some of his works may be 
seen in the Assize Court at Exeter, Totnes Guildhall, and 
the Churches of St. Saviour, Dartmouth, Dartington, 
and Cornworthy. He was a watchmaker by trade, like 
his father ; and one of his inventions was the method of 
compressing plumbago used in the manufacture of black- 
lead pencils. 

Charles Babbage (1792-1871), astronomer and mathe- 
matician, is erroneously regarded as a Totnes man. How- 
ever, he was Devonian by descent ; and eventually became 
Mathematical Professor at his College at Cambridge — 
Trinity. He is best known to the general public by his 
marvellous calculating machine, or * Difference Engine,' 
which enabled him to construct his tables of the logarithms 
of the natural numbers from i to 108,000. As a writer, 
his best known work is the ninth * Bridgewater Treatise.' 

On the other side of the Dart, but forming part of the 
borough of Totnes, is Bridgetown, in the parish of Berry 
Pomeroy, the property of the Duke of Somerset. 

The Castle of Berry Pomeroy, shrouded in dense woods 
on a bold bluff above a feeder of the little river Hems, is 
the finest ruin left in Devon. The Berry naturally indi- 
cates the presence of some defensive works in early times ; 
and perhaps Alric, its last Saxon owner, had his chief 
* strength ' here, seeing that Ralph de Pomeroy, to whom 
it was given with fifty-eight other lordships by the Con- 
queror, built a castle at Berry, and made it the seat of his 
barony. A great family, and of wide-reaching influence, 
did the Pomeroys become ; and for nearly five centuries 
they continued in the front rank of Devonshire landowners, 
though they ceased to be summoned to Parliament in the 
closing years of the reign of Henry HI. A lew vicissitudes 

264 History of Devonshire. 

they had, but still they retained their estates, and no badge 
in Devon was held in greater honour than the Pomeroy lion, 
until the fatal day when Sir Thomas Pomeroy, the last 
Pomeroy lord of Berry, placed himself at the head of the 
Western Rebellion in the reign of Edward VI. ; and with 
the failure of the movement lost all his estates, though 
he saved his life. Berry then passed to the Seymours, 
in whom it still remains, probably by purchase. 

Of the fortalice of the Pomeroys there are sundry im- 
portant fragments, including the gateway and its towers. 
Lord Edward Seymour, son of the Protector Duke of 
Somerset, was the first of this name who lived at Berry. 
His son, Sir Edward, built within the walls of the ancient 
castle a stately home, which was destroyed, it is said, by 
fire about a century later, and has never been rebuilt : 
thus the ruins at Berry are of two very distinct periods 
and characters. The last Seymour who occupied the 
mansion was the haughty Sir Edward, who replied to the 
question of William III., *I believe you are of the family 
of the Duke of Somerset ?* — * Pardon me. Sir ; the Duke 
of Somerset is of my family.* 

Dartington, under the name of Derentun, is the first 
known Saxon settlement in Devon ; since the register of 
Shaftesbury Abbey records, under date 833, that a Dorset- 
shire lady, named Beornwyn, had relinquished her share 
of a patrimonial estate near Aimer, in Dorset, to take up 
her abode on another hereditary property at * Derentun 
homm in Domnonia.' She may well have been the 
ancestress of Alwin, who, at the Conquest, had to yield 
it with other manors to William of Falaise, some of 
whose most important possessions lay in this immediate 
district. It is a noteworthy fact that among the 
'Domesday' under-tenants in Dene and Rattery, English- 
men are mentioned. Dartington was the seat of the 
barony of William of Falaise, and passed in succession 
to the Martyns and the Audleys. Richard 11. gave it to 

Totnes. 265 

his half-brother John Holland, Duke of Exeter ; and he 
erected the great hall and its associated quadrangle, if, 
indeed, a portion of the latter is not somewhat earlier. 
The part of the mansion now inhabited was rebuilt in the 
time of Elizabeth. Margaret, Countess of Richmond, 
had a grant of the manor in 1487 for life. It came to the 
Champernownes in the sixteenth century; according to 
Pole by an exchange for the site of the Abbey of Polsloe. 
The first Champernowne of Dartington was Sir Arthur ; 
and when the male line failed in 1774, it passed to the 
female side in the Haringtons, who took the ancient name. 
From a mistaken idea that the Templars had to do with 
this manor, it is occasionally called Dartington Temple. 

Harberton, adjoining, now chiefly entitled to notice 
from the screen of its church, was the seat of the barony 
of the Valletorts, but the manor of Engleboume belonged 
to Buckfastleigh. It seems remarkable that the seats of 
four baronies like those of Totnes, Berry, Dartington, and 
Harberton, should have been planted so closely together, 
within a radius of less than three miles. 

Dean Prior takes its name as part of the endowments 
of the wealthy Priory of Plympton, to which it was given 
by William Fitz Stephen in the reign of Henry II. It 
was purchased at the Dissolution from Henry VIII. by 
William Giles of Bowden, near Totnes, and in the 
mansion which the Gileses built there long resided Sir 
Edward Giles, born at Totnes about 1580, one of Prince's 
* Worthies,' and a prominent Devonian throughout a 
long career. A soldier in th^ Low Countries, under 
Elizabeth ; a courtier, knighted by James I. at his corona- 
tion; constantly chosen one of the representatives of 
Totnes during the reigns of James and Cliarles — he 
proved himself not only a statesman, but a patriot, by 
remonstrating against ship-money in 1634. J^^ve of the 
remonstrants were sent for to Court, including Sir 
Edward, who excused himself on the score of ill-health, 

266 History of Devonshire. 

and died in 1637. His sister Christian married George 
Yarde, whose heiress, in 1789, married Frances Buller^ 
and the family is now represented by Lord Churston. 

The epitaph on Sir Edward Giles and his wife, placed 
beneath their handsome monument in Dean Prior Church,, 
was written by Robert Herrick, who was for many years 
Vicar of Dean. Ejected under the Commonwealth, he 
recovered his living at the Restoration, and there he died, 
in advanced age, in 1674. Dean does not seem to have 
been to his taste, if we may judge from sundry passages 
in his poems, by the style in which he speaks of its 
* warty incivility,* and the dislike he expresses for * this 
dull Devonshire.* Yet he continued to enjoy life in his 
way ; nor could his * Hesperides ' have flourished as they 
did in a soil really uncongenial to his spirit. He is re- 
membered by a handsome modern brass. 

Rattery is only noteworthy for two things — that it was 
given by Robert Fitzmartin, temp. Henry I., to the 
Abbey of St. Dogmaels, in Pembrokeshire ; and that it 
contains Marley House, one of the seats of the Devon- 
shire Carews. 

In Ashprington is the domain of Sharpham, which is 
one of the few places in the West where a heronry is to 
be found. The rookery is reputedly the largest in the 
kingdom, but that is a point on which it would hardly be 
wise to express an opinion. 

Cornworthy, adjoining, contained a house of Austin 
nuns, which was founded in all probability by the Norman 
lords of Totnes. The manor belonged to Judhel, and 
was both populous and flourishing ; for it had a recorded 
inhabitancy of 33, a mill, and a fishery rendering 30 
salmon a year. The Dart even then enjoyed a reputation 
which it has never lost, for it remains the best salmon 
river in the county. There is only a gate left of the 
Priory, which was one of the smaller houses. 



Although of considerable antiquity, Dartmoutli yields 
precedence to Totnes, to which it was formerly sub- 
servient. Towns at the mouths of rivers are almost 
invariably less ancient than ports higher up their course. 
The reason is obvious. The borough of old had com- 
monly a castle for its nucleus, and gathered under the 
protection of the owner of the stronghold. The feudal 
lord reared his ' strength ' as a rule conveniently central 
to his territories ; and if a site ne^r the coast was chosen, 
some inaccessible fastness was commonly selected, where 
no town could rise. And when trade sprang up, and 
trading communities increased in wealth and importance, 
similar causes continued at work. Defective roads made 
the employment of water-carriage a necessity wherever 
possible. The unsettled state of the times rendered it 
essential that infant commerce should be conducted in 
places which were not exposed to surprise, and could offer 
sustained defence against attack. But trade progressed, 
and traffic grew ; and by-and-by the advantages of ready 
access from the highway of nations counterbalanced the 
disadvantages. Then were founded such places as 
Dartmouth, guarded by castles and chains in a manner 
that in an earlier age would have been impossible. 
Dartmouth is not a large place now, but in its infant 

268 History of DcrousJtrre. 

^3j% t!:rce villages occupied its she, acd their memory s 
prescrred m the c&aai mme of the bcrccgb — * Cliitoo- 
Dartny,vrb-Hardiie3&.* The orisois of tbe Clircn and 
the DartcKtrtli xre clezr cdoosIl Hardoe^ g^***?** to 
iixiicate a Scandisavian orig i n — * By tbe headland,* <M 
' The hf^ff-^ffd landing-place-' There aic semal instances 
of tbe 'ness* on the south coast of DeroD. The eailiest 
histoncal reference to Dartmotttb deals father with the 
haiboor than the town ; its mentioo as the place wfaeie 
Swegen, son of Godwin, dew his coodn Beam. 

However this may be, tt is certain Dartmooth was IJie 
port whence Rnftts sailed to Scainandy io tbe last year erf 
tbe eleventh centmy ; and that eigbt hundred years age 
at least tbe national importaoce of its magnificmt land- 
locked deep-water harbonc had been recognised. In 
1190 Daitmontb was selected as tbe rendezvoos for the 
fieet, or a portion of the Crosading fleet, c^ Richard the 
lion-hearted. Bat Aether ten ships sailed from Dart- 
month on this occasion. <x 164, the nnmbers cited by rival 
antborities, it is idle to attempt to decide. 

There is the nsoal obsctiiity in the early stages (rf the 
corporate history of tbe town. John paid it two visits, 
one in Jane, 1Z05, when be came Crom and retnmed to 
Dorchester; tbe other in October, 1214, when he came 
by sea from Rochelle and went on to Dorchester; and 
while, according to Leland, he ' gave privilege of Mairaltie* 
to Dartmonth, at an inquisition in 1319 tbe borgesses 
claimed to have been a free borongh in the reign of 
Henry I. Both these points are questionable. 

For example, there is no doubt that Totnes is the older 
town and king held superiority over Dartmooth; yet 
Totnes goes no farther than John for hs earliest known 
charter ; and Dartmouth was not freed from the control 
of the lord of Totnes until William la Zonch, own^ tA 
the barony, granted bis rights therein to Nicholas of 
Tewkesbury. There may have been some confrisi<Mi 

Dartmouth, 269 

between the town of Dartmouth and the port of Dart- 
mouth, which with its water -rights became a royal 
appanage, and has continued to the present day a member 
of the Duchy of Cornwall. Yet La Zouche granted to 
Tewkesbury not only the usual manorial rights, but the 
toll and custom of the port and of the river up to Blakston 
next Cornworthy, reserving free passage from Totnes to 
the sea, without any malicious impediment. 

But there must have been a pharter of some kind before 
the reign of Henry IIL, for by him it was confirmed ; and 
the fact that the oldest extant seal of the borough (temp. 
Edward I.) represents a king in a ship, with John's badges 
of the crescent and star, certainly indicates an ancient 
claim to some connection with that monarch, whatever 
its precise character may have been. There was a market 
as early as 1226. 

During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Dart- 
mouth rivalled the Cinque Ports in importance and fam^,. 
and was for awhile the foremost seaport in the provinces. 
It was frequently made the rendezvous at which vessels 
from other ports assembled before departing upon some 
great expedition. Perhaps the importance it assumed in 
the reign of Edward III. had something to do with the 
fact that in 1327 Nicholas of Tewkesbury transferred his 
rights to the King, who, ten years later, granted the town 
another charter. That ancient landmark in maritime 
history, the siege of Calais, ranks Dartmouth the third 
port in the kingdom. Fowey found 47 ships and 770 men ; 
Yarmouth 43 ships and 1,905 men ; Dartmouth 31 ships 
and 757 men, and Plymouth 26 ships and 603 men. Yet 
in 1310 Dartmouth had pleaded its inability to maintain 
one ship for the King's service without exterior aid, which 
was supplied by Totnes, Brixham, Portlemouth, and Kings- 
bridge. Edward III. provided in his charter that two 
should be found. Probably the prosperity of the little 
town was greatly stimulated by the privilege of piracy 

270 History of Devonshire. 

given to it by this monarch, who is described in 'The 
Libel of English Policy ' as selecting 

* Dartmouth, Plymouth, the third it is Fowey, 
And gave them help and notable puissance 
Upon pety Bretayne for to werrc.' 

But the sailors of the Cinque Ports were little better, and 
fought and plundered among themselves ; and Fowey was 
so deeply imbued with this spirit that when Edward IV. 
made peace with France its seamen continued war in his 
despite on their own account, and had to be set in order 
by the aid of the Dartmouth men, who took away the 
chain of the harbour, its chief defence. The fame of 
Dartmouth at this time is further attested by the fact 
that Chaucer chose it as the probable residence of his 
^ shippeman.' 

* For ought I woot he was of Dertemouthe.' 

A man of experience and trust — 

* Ther was non swiche from Hull to Cartage. 
Hardy he was, and wys to undertake ; 

With many a tempest had his herd been schake, 
He knew wel alle the havenes, as they were 
From Gootland to the Cape of Fynystere, 
And every cryke in Bretayne and in Spayne.' 

Dartmouth must have had many such men ; and of this 
stamp must have been its chief worthy, John Hawley, 
whose effigies in armour, between those of his two wives, 
are to be seen on the Hawley brass in St. Saviour Church. 
Chaucer no doubt had visited Dartmouth and heard of 
Hawley, the seven-times mayor, the great merchant who 
had so many vessels and traded to so many parts, that 
the old rhyme is still remembered : 

* Blow the wind high, blow the wind low, 
It bloweth fair to Hawley's Hoe.' 

And there is good evidence that Hawley was something 
more than a * mere merchant,' and perchance fairly an- 

Dartmouth. 271 

swered to that part of the shipman's character, wherein 

it is said : 

' Of nyce conscience took he no keep. 
If that he faughte and hadde the higher hand. 
By water he sente hem home to every land.' 

On one occasion Hawley attacked and took thirty-two 
wine vessels; but whenever he felt aggrieved, whether 
with his own countrymen or with foreigners, he always 
kept the law, because he made it himself to suit the 
occasion. There was no maxim, indeed, of the truth of 
which the Dartmouth folk of the Middle Ages were more 
thoroughly convinced, than that * Heaven helped those 
who helped themselves.' Hence not only their incessant 
warfare with the French, but their repeated disputes with 
other ports. A memorable instance of agreement is, 
however, the fact recorded by Walsingham, that when, in 
1385, the English Admiral was afraid to attack the 
French iBeet because of the jealousies within his own, the 
Portsmouth and Dartmouth men, on their own account, 
made great havoc among the French vessels in the 

Of course so very busy and aggravating a port had to 
take as well as give. How frequently Dartmouth was 
assailed in its turn, it is hard to tell. It is said to have 
been burnt in 1377 ; and an attack was certainly made in 
1404. According to the French Chronicles, Du Chastel, 
the Breton, was the leader, and the attack was repulsed 
by a force of 6,000 men, and with heavy loss. Du Chastel 
was killed, but a month later his brethren avenged his 
death by making an unexpected attack and consigning the 
town to the flames. So far the French historians. The 
English chroniclers do not mention any second descent ; 
of which, indeed, there is no trace to be found — and aver 
that Du Chastel and his men were beaten by the plain 
country people, * at which time the women (like Amazons), 
by hurling flints and pebbles and such-like artillery, did 

272 History of Devonsktre. 

greatly advance their husbands' and kinsfolks' victory/ 
Patriotism and gallantry alike, therefore, compel us to 
accept this version of the affair, especially as the names 
of several of the captured Breton knights are preserved. 

An important fact in the status of Dartmouth at this 
period was its appointment in 1390 the sole port for the 
exportation of tin. To this time paiticularly date back 
the ancient fortifications of the town, now, for the most 
part, either fallen into ruin or modernised : the two 
castles at the harbour-mouth, Dartmouth and Ktngswear, 
between which of yore a strong chain was hauled up each 
night, and in special time of peril ; and the inner guard of 
Bearscove and Gomerock ; while the wealth and liberality 
and taste of the age are seen in the noble church of St. 
Saviour, with its magnificent oak screen — the chancel of 
which is the work of Hawley. 

Special need of defence is shown in the license granted 
to John Corp to embattle his house at the entrance of the 
harbour ; and it is a point worth noting that in the adjoin- 
ing church of Stoke Fleming, the oldest brasses in the 
county are to John Corp {1361), and to Elyenore, presum- 
ably a Corp also {1381). 

It was inevitable that Dartmouth should take a promi- 
nent position in Elizabethan times, though it had been 
distanced in the race by Plymouth. Two great names at 
least of the Elizabethan galaxy of Devonian worthies 
belong to Dartmouth. One, ' lovable John Davis,' born at 
Sandridge in the adjoining parish of Stoke Gabriel, who 
commenced the career of Arctic voyaging which led to 
the discovery of Davis's Straits in 1585 ; and who made 
several voyages to the South Seas and East Indies, meeting 
his death in 1605 at the hands oi* pirates in the Malaccas. 

Near Dartmouth is Greenway, the seat or the famous 
Gilberts. The family was settled here in the reign oi 
Edward II. ; and here were born — their father being Otho 
Gilbert and their mother Katherine Champernowne — 

Dartmouth. 273 

Humphry and Adrian Gilbert, the famous half-brothers 
of the still more famous Sir Walter Ralegh. 

It was in consequence of its connection with the 
Gilberts that Dartmouth obtained the honour of being 
the first port in Devon to send out an American colonizing 
expedition. Having written a discourse to prove a 
passage by the North- West to Cathay and the East 
Indies, Humphry obtained a patent from Elizabeth, 
empowering him to discover and settle in North America 
any savage lands. His first voyage in 1579 was un- 
successful. In his second, in 1583, he took possession of 
Newfoundland, which had long been a fishing station for 
various nations ; but was drowned on his return voyage 
before he could turn this formality to any practical 
account. Few are unfamiliar with the brave way in 
which he met his death : 

* He sat upon the deck, 

The book was in his hand ; 
"Do not fear, Heaven is as near 
By water as by land." ' 

It was in all probability this same earnest-minded devout 
man who boldly proposed to Elizabeth to strike oiice for 
all a blow at the maritime power of her adversaries, by 
destroying without warning the foreign fishing fleets at 
Newfoundland ; offering himself to the work, even if 
repudiated directly it was done, in the confident belief 
that it would be to the glory of God and for the safety of 
the kingdom. After Humphry's death, Adrian, a man of 
advanced scientific knowledge for the times, solicited a 
patent for the search and discovery of the North- West 
passage. Though the Gilberts did not succeed in their 
aim, they yet secured for Dartmouth a very liberal — 
indeed, at first a preponderant — share of the Newfound- 
land trade, which the ports of Devon so long enjoyed. 

Dartmouth had its part in the victory over the Armada. 
Two ships, the Crescent and the Hart, were fitted out by the 


274 History of Devonshire. 

town and neighbourhood, manned by loo men, to join the 
fleet which assembled in Plymouth Sound. Beside these 
were five volunteers: Sir Walter Ralegh's Roebuck, Sir John 
Gilbert's Gabriel, Sir Adrian Gilbert's Elizabeth, Gawen 
Champemowne's Phcenix, and the Samaritan — the latter 
surely one of the oddest of odd names for a man-of-war. 

Dartmouth is associated, too, with* a melancholy 
incident in the life of Ralegh. Hither was taken the 
great carrack, the Madre de Dies ; and hither was brought 
Ralegh in disgrace, the * Queen's poor prisoner,' to see to 
the safety of her stores and treasure, a work in which, as 
Cecil reported, he ' toiled terribly.' Cecil himself was 
disgusted with Devon. * Fouler ways, desperate weather, 
nor more obstinate people, did I never meet with.' No one 
will agree with Cecil now, and Dartmouth itself remains 
the most quaint and picturesque old town in the West. 

The Corporation of Dartmouth must have been tolerably 
wealthy in the early part of the seventeenth century ; for 
in 1642 they authorized the advance, by the hands of 
their representatives in the Long Parliament, of 
^2,668 7s. 6d., to help in reducing the Irish rebels, the 
same to be recouped out of their lands. The money 
appears to have been paid, and the Corporation were so 
fortunate as to secure a map of their property ; but 
somehow or other matters stopped there. It is hardly 
necessary to indicate the proclivities of Dartmouth at 
this period. It fell, nevertheless, into the hands of Prince 
Maurice after a siege of one month and four days, and 
remained a Cavalier stronghold until the end of the war, 
the most zealous Roundheads of the town having joined 
the garrison at Plymouth. It was taken by assault by 
Fairfax in January, 1646. Dartmouth was stormed at 
three points by Colonels Pride, Hammond, and Fortescue; 
Kingswear Fort, on the other side of the river, which was 
held by Sir Henry Cary, then came to terms ; finally, the 
Governor, Sir Hugh Pollard, who had taken refuge in the 

.. -'j;. 

Dartmouth. 275 

castle, surrendered. Thus, with comparatively little loss, 
the last town in the district that held out for Charles was 
taken, and with it 1,000 troops, 120 guns, and 2 ships. 

This is the last event which connects the town with the 
general history of the country ; but its most important 
personal association has yet to be named. Somewhere 
about the year 1670, there was born in Dartmouth a man 
who did more to lay the foundations of the present 
manufacturing greatness of the kingdom, and to advance 
the* progress of industrial operations throughout the world, 
than any other who can be named. This was Thomas 
Newcomin, the inventor of the first practical working 
steam-engine, upon which, after it had been many years 
in useful operation, the work of James Watt was based. 
Newcomin, with whom was associated another Dartmouth 
man, named Cawley, perfected his engine in 1705. Hardly 
anything is known of him except that he was a locksmith 
and ironmonger, and that he died in 1729. The date of 
his birth is quite uncertain, but no doubt has ever been 
thrown upon his being a Dartmouth worthy. The house 
in which he lived was pulled down a few years since, and 
the materials worked into a house called ' Newcomin 
Cottage.' West-Countrymen are proud of the fact that 
to Newcomin the world owes the stationary steam-engine, 
and to Trevithick, of Hayle, in Cornwall, the locomotive. 
Newcomin's engine was a perfectly new machine, though 
it had to a certain extent a predecessor in the ingenious 
device of Savery of Shilston ; and Trevithick's engine 
was the first that proved the practicability of steam loco- 
motion on railroads. 

Dartmouth first sent members to Parliament 26th 
Edward I., but the returns are not continuous from that 
date. In 1832 it lost one member, and in 1867 it was 
disfranchised. It had long attained, like its neighbour 
Totnes, an unpleasant reputation, and on one occasion, it 
is said, £400 was given to a voter to induce him to abstain 


276 History of Devonshire. 

from voting. For a long time the members of the Holds- 
worth family had considerable sway in the Coi^poration. 
They held the post of Governor of Dartmouth Castle in 
something like hereditary succession, the office gradually 
dropping into a sinecure, and at last becoming a mere 
title, and disappearing with the death of the last * Governor 
Holdsworth,' who was one of the representatives of the 
borough before the Reform Bill of 1832. 

Dartmouth has a prominent link with the elder Non- 
conformity. Its Independent congregation was founded 
by the celebrated Puritan preacher and divine, Flavel, 
who was ejected in 1662 from St. Saviour, and died in 
1691, at the age of sixty-one. It is rather a remarkable fact 
that a brass was erected to his memory at the time of his 
decease in St. Saviour, but removed by order of the 
Corporation in 1709. It now occupies a prominent place 
in the Independent Chapel, and concludes with the 

words : 

* Covld Grace or Learning from the Grave set free, 
Flavell, Thov had*st not seen Mortality ; 
Thovgh here Thy dusty part Death's Victim lies, 
Thov by thy WORKS thyself dost Eternize, 
Which Death nor Rust of Time shall Overthrow ; 
While Thov dost Reign above, These Live Below.* 

A number of French gold coins found on the beach at 
Blackpool Sands, about half-way between Dartmouth and 
Slapton, have been, with good reason, treated as relics of 
the landing of the Earl of Warwick at Dartmouth, on the 
13th of September, 1470. Ships, money, and men for 
this expedition were supplied by the French King. The 
coins included 6cus d'or of Louis XL and Charles VIL of 
France, with other coins of Charles V. and Charles VI. ; 
and gold nobles of Edward IIL and V. and Henry V. are 
also stated to have been discovered at the same place. 
Most of the coins certainly found at Blackpool were, 
however, French, and their dates show that they were 
probably lost between 1465 and 1483. 



It has been commonly assumed that Ashburton is the 
' Aisbertone ' recorded in * Domesday ' as being held by 
Matilda in succession to Brictric, and under her by 
Judhel of Totnes ; and that when he was banished it 
became the property of the Bishops of Exeter. 'Aisber- 
tone,' however, possessed not only hsheries, but a salt- 
work, and was therefore adjacent to the sea ; and the 
true Ashburton of ' Domesday ' is the ' Essebretone ' which 
the Bishops of Exeter held before the Conquest, and to 
which ' Domesday ' gives a population of sixty. The 
little stream which at the time Ashburton was founded 
was named the Ashbum, has long been called the Yeo, 
which is simply the Saxon «i=water. Whether the 
Ashburn was so called by the early settlers from the ash- 
trees in its valley, or whether the ' ash ' is merely the 
Keltic MM^ ( = water) which occurs in Devon as exe, axe, 
tig, and ock, it would hardly be safe to say. The northern 
termination ' burn ' is, however, interesting as a trace of 
that peculiar system of district nomenclature almost con- 
fined in Devon to the Dartmoor area, and appearing to 
indicate the settlement of various river basins by isolated 
bands of Teutonic colonists of differing origin. 

The Bishops of Exeter held Ashburton until it was 
assumed by the Crown under James I., and subsequently 

278 History of Devonshire. 

sold in moieties to Sir Robert Parkhurst and the Earl of 
Feversham. The first portion, passing through the 
families of Stawell and Tuckfield, came by the heiress 
of Roger Tuckfield to Samuel Rolle, descended to the 
Trefusis family, and is now the property of Lord Clinton. 
The other moiety has been in Duke, Palk, Mathieson, and 
others, and was at length purchased by Mr. Robert 
Jardine, who was the last member for the now disfranchised 
borough. The annual court-leet and court-baron of these 
lords is held alternately by their stewards in the chapel of 
St. Lawrence, in ancient form. At this court a portreeve 
and a bailiff are elected, and the various minor manorial 
ofiBcials, the bailiff being the summoning officer, while the 
portreeve of one year is almost always the bailiff of the 

The most notable of the ecclesiastical lords of Ash- 
burton in his connection with that town, was Bishop 
Stapledon, who held the See of Exeter from 1308 to i327» 
He was partial to the little burgh on the verge of the 
Dartmoor highlands, and frequently resided in its manor* 
house. Two years after his accession he procured the 
grant of a market and fair ; and four years later still 
founded the Guild or Fraternity of St. Lawrence, giving it 
a chapel which he had erected within the precincts of his 
court. The present edifice, therefore, very closely marks 
the site of the episcopal palace. The Guild had to find a 
priest to pray for his soul after death, and for the souls of 
the other holders of the see. Moreover, the priest was 
to keep a free school ; and whatever overplus there might 
be on the endowment was to be spent in the ' reparacion 
and maintenance of ledes for the conduction of pure and 
holesome water to the town of Aysheperton, and upon the 
relief and sustentacion of such people as are infected 
when the plage is in the towne, that they being from all 
company may not infect the whole.' Though the charter 
of St. Lawrence was surrendered to the Crown, together 

Ashburton and Buckfastleigh. 279 

with the chantry, in 1535, and though of the ancient 
fabric the tower only remains, Bishop Stapledon's 
foundation retains in effect its ancient educational uses. 
Up to the suppression of the Guild the free school was 
carried on as directed ; and when the chantry fell into the 
hands of the King there were found burgesses of Ash- 
burton far-seeing and liberal enough to buy the chapel 
and the ground round about. For a time the school was 
supported by voluntary contributions, but by-and-by 
endowments began to come in, and the free school 
developed into the Grammar School, which, with this 
record of five centuries and a half, continues to the 
present day. 

The school has made its mark in the reputation 
achieved by three of its pupils — ^John Dunning, first Lord 
Ashburton ; Dr. Ireland, Dean of Westminster, and 
William Gifford. Dunning (1731-1783), the son of an 
attorney practising in Ashburton, by dint of the most 
untiring perseverance, and after enduring many a hard- 
ship, rose to the first rank in his profession as a lawyer, 
acquired an immense fortune, was elevated to the peerage, 
and died at the early age of fifty-one. His title has been 
revived in the family of his wife, Elizabeth Baring. 
Devon has produced many eminent lawyers, but none 
more eminent than John Dunning. William Gifford 
(1776-1826), the distinguished critic and translator, born 
five years before the death of Dunning, had one of the 
hardest fights in his early days recorded of any Devon- 
shire worthy. An orphan at thirteen, with no friend in 
the world, no relative save a younger brother, an apprentice 
to a hard master, slaking his thirst for learning by beating 
out pieces of leather smooth, and working algebraic 
problems upon them with a blunt awl — most forlorn was 
his lot until a surgeon of Ashburton, named Cookesley, 
obtained the cancelling of his indentures, and with the 
help of other friends had him sent to school. Two years 

28o History of Devonshire. 

only qualified Gifford to enter as Bible clerk at Exeter 
College, and thence his career was one of continued 
success. First editor of the Quarterly^ he resigned 
that post only two years before his death; and the 
quondam shoemaker's apprentice found a grave in West- 
minster Abbey, of which his old schoolfellow, Ireland, 
became dean. Five years younger than Gifford (1782- 
1842), the son of a butcher, Ireland went from the Ash- 
burton school to a Bible clerkship at Oriel, and speedily 
won preferment and fame. Like Gifford a ready and 
ripe scholar, Ireland was most munificent in his gifts for 
the promotion of learning. 3^10,000 was given by him to 
establish a professorship at Oxford for the exegesis of 
Scripture ; and the Ireland scholarship, founded by him 
in 1825, has become the chief honour of its kind Oxford 
has to bestow. 

Ashburton was first called upon to send representatives 
to Parliament in 1298 ; but does not appear to have exer- 
cised that duty again until 1407. From this date until 
1640 it returned one member only, and then was required 
to send two, which has been held to indicate that the 
town leant to the popular side. This was unquestionably 
the case, but it is not quite clear that the fact could have 
helped it to greater weight in the legislature. In 1832 
the borough was once more restricted to one member, 
and in 1867 was finally disfranchised after some exceed- 
ingly close contests, which did not altogether increase its 

Ashburton has never been prominent in the national 
history ; and one of the few facts noted is its occupation 
by Fairfax in January, 1646, apparently unopposed. 

The church is remarkable for the discovery, during a 
restoration in 1840, of a number of long earthen jars 
built into the wall of the chancel, the purpose of which 
has been much controverted. They are commonly held 
to have been acoustic vases; but since, when found, tlieir 

Ashburton and Buckfastleigh. 281 

mouths were covered with pieces of slate, this explanation 
seems doubtful ; and it is averred, on the other hand, 
that they had in them certain hard substances, thought 
to be * dried hearts.' The church is supposed to have been 
founded about the year 1137 by Ethelward de Pomeroy, 
the wrongly reputed refounder of the Abbey of Buckfast ; 
but the chancel would date some two centuries later. 
Again, the church has been regarded by some authorities 
as collegiate, by others as having been a dependency of 
Buckfast Abbey. There is no evidence for either suppo- 
sition, but some connection between the Abbey and Ash- 
burton may be presumed. 

The Abbey of Buckfast, Buckfastleigh, or, as in * Domes- 
day,' Bucfestre, is a foundation of great age, one of the 
very few religious houses in Devon which had existence 
before the Conquest. The early history of Buckfast is 
lost in remote antiquity ; but the monks claimed, in the 
reign of Edward I., to hold the manor of Zele Monachorum 
by the gift of Cnut ; and * Domesday * shows the Abbey a 
flourishing institution with considerable possessions. It 
has been said that this original house was dissolved by 
the Conqueror, its estates confiscated and given to the 
Pomeroys, and that it was refounded by Ethelward de 
Pomeroy, son of William. This rests, however, solely 
upon a single sentence of Leland, and the whole weight 
of evidence is in favour of the unbroken descent of the 
house from Saxon times. Ethelward de Pomeroy was no 
doubt a benefactor, and hence the tradition. * Domesday ' 
gives Bucfestre as the head of the Abbey, and notes the 
fact that it had a smith. 

Originally, so far as can be ascertained, Benedictine, 
Buckfast became a daughter-house of Savigny, united to 
the Cistercian Order in 1148. There is no certain proof 
when Buckfast changed to the Cistercian rule, but this 
would in all probability be in the latter half of the twelfth 

282 History of Devonshire. 

century. The Abbey flourished under the care of the 
farmer monks, who in 1236 were admitted into the Guild 
Merchant of Totnes. In April, 1297, Edward I. visited 
the Abbey ; and in 1340 Abbot Philip obtained a grant of 
a weekly market at Buckfastleigh, and of a yearly fair at 
Brent. Under his successor, Robert Simons, a case was 
decided in 1358 which has an important bearing on the 
constitutional and social history of the kingdom. One 
Richard Avery, of Trusham, complained that the abbot — 
m et armis — had carried off property to the value of £100. 
The abbot's rejoinder was that, Avery being a villein of 
his manor of Trusham, he ought not to be called upon to 
answer. Avery declared that he was a free man and not 
a villein ; but the jury decided that he was nativiis, and 
the abbot had judgment. Hence, even in the latter half 
of the fourteenth century the villein had no rights, at 
least against the lord of the soil. His position is also 
indicated by another lawsuit later in the same abbacy 
(1384), when Simon charged Walter Rosere and William 
Buriman with carrying off his villeins, Christina Barry 
and John Barry, of Down St. Mary, whereby he was 
injured to the extent of 3^20. It would not be safe, how- 
ever, to infer from this special instance the nominal value 
attached to villeins in those days, though they formed a dis- 
tinct element in the appreciation of estates. Simon appears 
to have had a taste for litigation, and engaged in sundry 
actions of an important character concerning fishery rights^ 
None of the abbots was a man of mark, unless we except 
William Slade, a Devonshire man, who became head in 
1413. ' He was not only a scholar and a theologian, but 
an artist,' and zealous in the discharge of his duties. He 
was a student and an author, and some of his works are 
mentioned in a list of the Abbey library given by Leland* 
The last abbot was Gabriel Doune or Downe, who was 
appointed in 1535, and surrendered in February, 1538. 
He was probably * the author of the plan which resulted 

Ashburton and Buckfastleigh. 283 

m the capture, imprisonment, and death of Tyndale;' 
and Mr. J. Brooking Rowe thinks that he was foisted 
upon the monks of Buckfast better to carry out the 
designs of the King. This at least is certain : he received 
a pension of ^f 120, and was appointed rector of Stepney, 
prebendary of St. Paul's, and finally, upon Bonner's depri- 
vation, was constituted by Cranmer residentiary. 

The gross income of the Abbey at the Dissolution was 

jf499 13s. lofd. 

The Abbey and the adjacent lands were granted to Sir 
Thomas Dennis, and descended in his family. A century 
later they were the property of Sir Richard Baker, the 
historian. Eventually they were sold in parcels, and the 
remains of the Abbey, with the modern house built upon 
the site and in part with its materials, are now once more 
the home of monks of the Benedictine order, who are 
successfully engaged in its reconstruction upon the ancient 

A century since the old monastic buildings were of 
great extent. At present the manufacturing prosperity 
of Buckfastleigh is the brotherhood's chiefest monument. 
The great wool-traders of their age and district, the 
founders of the mills which in process of time became 
converted to the purposes of the woollen manufacture, the 
Cistercians of Buckfastleigh were in no very remote sense 
the originators of the trade of the locality. Buckfastleigh 
and Ashburton, by the steady adoption of new processes 
and improved machinery, have maintained their reputation 
for high-class woollen goods, and thus unite with North 
Tawton in proving that it was less through necessity than 
by bad management that this great staple industry of 
Devon was driven to the North. 

Ashburton, as one of the original Stannary towns of the 
county, was associated with mining enterprise, histori- 
cally at least, as far back as the twelfth century ; and it 
continued that association, though more in name than in 

284 History of Devonshire. 

fact, until * tin coinage ' was abolished in 1838. Buck- 
fastleigh, however, remains the centre of a mineral district, 
which has been from time to time worked for copper with 
more or less success. 

An interesting relic of the past of Buckfastleigh is an 
ancient path across the neighbouring moor, still called the 
* Abbot's Way.' This was the road used by the monks 
of Buckfast, Buckland Monachorum, and Tavistock, to 
communicate with each other, and it is the shortest path 
between these places across the moorland. Save in the 
enclosed country, the Abbot's Way is distinctly marked, 
and in parts is still well worn. At a place called Broad 
Rock the road from Buckfast forks, one portion leading 
to Tavistock, and the other to Buckland. 

It is probably due to its association with Buckfast that 
Brent had a little cruciform Norman church, the central 
tower of which was found, in the course of recent restora- 
tion, to have been retained as the western tower of the 
later fabric. 

Holne Chase is one of the finest examples of the ancient 
chase left in the kingdom, and the only chase in Devon 
retaining aught of its ancient aspect. The woods, with 
those of Buckland-in-the-Moor, known as the Buckland 
Drives, extend for many a mile along the valley of the 
Dart. The most picturesque part of the course of that 
river is known as the * Lover's Leap,' from the customary 
legend * made and provided,' where a precipitous rock 
affords it a locus in quo. Holne, under that name — so that 
it must even then have been noted for its hollies — ^was one 
of the ' Domesday ' manors of Baldwin the Sheriff, and 
from the entry, ' formerly waste,' seems to have been 
recently taken out of the Dartmoor border-land. It was 
part of the barony of Barnstaple, and has passed with 
Tawstock to the Audleys, Bourchiers, and Wreys. Estates 
here were given to Buckfast by Valletort and Bauzon, and 

Ashburton and Buckfastleigh. 285 

the church belonged to that Abbey. Here, while his father 
was serving the vicarage, Canon Kingsley (1819-75) was 
born. Buckland was once in a family of that name, sub- 
sequently in the Arcedeknes, and afterwards came to its 
present owners, the Bastards. 

There are several * camps ' in the neighbourhood, the 
most important of the series being Hembury, near Buck- 
fastleigh. To this a curious tradition attaches, firmly 
believed in the locality. A party of marauding Danes are 
said to have found their way up the Dart, and seized upon 
this stronghold ; and to have carried thither the women 
of the district at their pleasure. Eventually 'a lot of 
women determined, as the men could not get rid of them, 
to allow themselves to be taken in a body by the Danes 
to the castle, and in the night each cut the throat of the 
man who lay by her.' The Saxon men made an attack 
at the same time, and the Northmen were annihilated. 

Devon has been famous for cider for many a century. 
In fact, it claims to have had at Plympton the first 
orchard planted in England. Be that as it may, there is 
no part of the county more noted for cider now than the 
valley of the Dart, nor a parish which has a higher repu- 
tation than Staverton. 

Widecombe Church is sometimes called the ' Cathedral 
of the Moor,' although, previous to a recent restoration, 
nothing could be more ludicrously appropriate than the 
text blazoned in the south porch of the edifice, without 
the least suspicion of a double application : * How dread- 
ful is this place !' The fabric gives historic interest to its 
rugged moorland parish. Dedicated to one of the most 
famous British saints — St. Pancras — its foundation would 
seem to be very remote ; and the probability is that the 
romantic, bowl-shaped valley in which it stands — the 
* wide combe ' truly — is the seat of one of the oldest of 
the continuing moorland settlements. 

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yhv \^S'>A\\ A sv^^ ^\v\ N>>\v\>x M^^\svv,\v^^ tho Wt juvl^^mem day 
W^s^ \\*^^Nv>\ ^^v^U^s^ \V\ iuvi isv^a \u ihe \xrr\ :U:nes o£ 
\Sn U- \ vS \ ^ A>^ ^^nss^ v\\\a\^^ ^^^ 0\\\ u >^>sU u ;x^ roc tbeii 

Ashburton and Buckfastleigh. 287 

conclusion. A fiery ball zigzagged through the church, 
cleaving the skull of one man into three pieces ; dashing 
the head of another against the wall so violently that he 
died that night ; firing the clothes and tearing the flesh ' 
of others of the congregation; overturning pews and 
shattering walls and windows. When the blast was over 
there was dead silence, until one Master Rowse ex- 
claimed, * Neighbours, in the name of God shall we 
venture out of the church ?' Whereto Master George 
Lyde, the minister, evidently believing that it was indeed 
the end of the world, rejoined, * It is best to make an 
end of prayers, for it were better to die here than in 
another place.' 

Of course the storm was set down to the special malice 
and device of the devil, and there were not wanting after 
the event those who could tell how his satanic majesty 
had called at an inn on the road to Widecombe for a 
drink, which hissed down his throat as if it were poured 
on hot iron. The visitation is one of the stock legends of 
the country-side, and the supernatural element is by no 
means banished from the popular mind. The story goes 
that when a modern teacher asked a child in an adjoining 
parish, * What do you know of your ghostly enemy ?' she 
had the utterly unexpected answer, illustrating the fatal 
tendency of an evil reputation to grow, * Please, ma'am, 
he lives to Widecombe.' 

The parish still retains much of its old-world character, 
and is remarkable even on the Dartmoor border-land for 
the number of its old farmhouses, yet in the hands of 
the ancient yeomanry of the county, a race which has 
almost wholly disappeared in the lowlands. Such old 
farmsteads are for the most part associated with clumps 
of ashes — the old Scandinavian tree of life, round which 
clusters a notable portion of the local folk-lore. The 
clumps are no doubt survivals of the influence of the 
Norse faith. 

288 History of Devonshire. 

Widecombe is associated with a few great names. The 
manor of Spitchwick was the property of Harold before 
the Conquest; and was once held by the Fitzwarines 
and the Hankfords, and for some time by John Dunning, 
the first Lord Ashburton, who acquired a leasehold 
interest. The manor of Widecombe was long in the Fitz 
Ralphs, or Shillingfords, Blackaton Manor, once probably 
held by Judhel of Totnes, took name of Blagdon Pipard 
from the Pipards, as early as King John. Deandon was 
for some centuries in the Malets, who acquired it by 
descent in the female line from the Deandons ; but since 
1600 has been owned by the Mallocks of Cockington. 
Notsworthy, presumably held by the Earls of Moreton, 
was, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in 
the Fords of Bagtor, the most distinguished of whom 
was Sir Henry Ford of Nutwell, Secretary of State for 
Ireland to Charles IL, who died in 1684. Dunstone, for 
two centuries at least after the Conquest, was the property 
of the Pomeroys. 

Ilsington has a claim to notice, little and upland parish 
though it is, in the fame of its one distinguished son, 
John Ford, the dramatist, born at Bagtor, then the seat 
of his family, in 1586. The lines are very familiar : 

* Deep in a dump John Ford alone was got, 
With folded arms and melancholy hat.' 

The greatest of the dramatists of Devon, he is all but 
forgotten now ; nor has Gilford's masterly edition of his 
works rescued him from oblivion. He was but twenty 
when he first ventured into print with his * Fame's 
Memoriall on the Erie of Devonshire.' His first play 
was produced in 1613, his last in 1639 > but nothinp; is 
known of the date and place of his death. Sir Henry 
Ford, already named, is supposed to have been his 
grandson. Though much modernized, the old manor- 
house where Ford was bom is still standing. 


Ashburton and Buckfastleigh. 289 

Tor Brian is linked with several names of note, the 
most famous of its early lords being one of the foremost 
of Devon's worthies. Sir Guy de Brian, standard-bearer 
to Edward III., did such service at Calais that he had a 
grant of 200 marks yearly out of the Exchequer. In 
1354 he went to Rome with Henry, Duke of Lancaster, 
to procure a ratification of the league between England 
and France from the Pope. In 1370 he again served in 
France, and in the same year illustrated his many-sided 
character still further by becoming Admiral of the king's 
fleet. Edward showed his esteem for Sir Guy by 
choosing him one of the Knights of the Garter. De 
Brian served Richard II. with equal success in France 
and in Ireland, by land and by sea, in the camp and in 
the court. He founded and endowed a collegiate church 
in his manor of Slapton, already noted, and died at an 
advanced age in 1391, leaving two granddaughters only. 

In later years Tor Brian became the cradle of the noble 
house of Petre. Tor Newton was the birthplace of the 
celebrated Sir William Petre, the most eminent of a dis- 
tinguished band of brothers. First brought to Court by 
Cromwell, he speedily became a favourite with Henry VIII., 
and was one of the visitors of the religious houses. The 
wealth thus acquired he had wit enough to keep, obtain- 
ing under Mary, from Pope Paul IV., a confirmation of 
the grants of Church property made by Henry. One of 
the means used to this end was the promise to employ 
the money in a way the Church would approve ; and one 
of the ways adopted by him was the foundation of eight 
fellowships at Exeter College. He must have been a 
man of wonderful tact ; for he held the office of Secretary 
of State and enjoyed equal favour under Henry, Edward, 
Mary, and Elizabeth. Under Henry he * observed his 
humour ;' in Edward's time * kept the law ;' in Mary's 

* intended wholly State affairs ;' and in Elizabeth's was 

* religious.' 

Two parishes in the Ashburton district still keep up the 


2go History of Devonshire. 

ancient dedication feast with much of the old-fashioned 
heartiness, and without any pretence of business. With 
them the * revel ' has never developed into the fair. At 
Ideford the sports last three days, and open house is 
commonly kept. The date is fixed by the Nativity of the 
Virgin — the 8th of September. The first day is spent in 
hare-hunting on Haldon ; the next in coursing on more 
enclosed lands ; the evenings being devoted to parties. 
The third day is generally appropriated to excursions. 

The * revel * at Holne on Old Midsummer Day is 
evidently of far higher antiquity. Its chief incident is the 
roasting of a lamb whole in the * Play Park' by the church. 
The inhabitants claim the right of taking the first ram 
they find on entering the Moor ; but in these prosaic days 
they think it best to make a purchase. When roasted, the 
lamb is carried in procession, preceded by a fiddler, to an 
inn, cut up and distributed; after which sports commence, 
and dancing winds up the day. * Old people who have 
made it a point to get a slice every year,' Mr. Fabyan 
Amery says, * assure me ** that a slice of revel lamb beats 
every other sort of roast meat in flavour and richness." ' 

The most remarkable district fair was that at Denbury, 
which came to a close by operation of the rinderpest in 
1866, after continuing from 1285, when it was granted 
to the Abbot of Tavistock. It was held on the 19th of 
September, and was attended by all classes. The carriages 
of the county families of the district were to be seen there ; 
it became the fixed day for the payment of rents ; and it 
was in many ways the pivot on which the business and 
pleasure of the twelve months turned. Strangely, how- 
ever, Denbury Fair, under the old name, kept in the old 
way, yet thrives in Labrador, established there generations 
since by Devonshire settlers, and still dear to their 
descendants, though these are quite ignorant whether 
Denbury be the name of man, woman, place, or thing. 



Torquay in name dates back some two hundred years ; 
but in &ct was barely more than a name — a httle pier 
or quay, and half a dozen fishermen's huts — until the 
early part of the present century, when the need of ac- 
commodation for the families of the officers of the fleets 
which made Torbay their rendezvous was felt. 

If, however, the name is set aside, and traces of ancient 
life alone considered, no place in the kingdom has more 
distinguished claims to antiquity ; for at Torquay is 
Kent's Cavern, the exploration of which has carried back 
the history of man in this country not merely to Palseo- 
lithic days, but to interglacial, perchance to preglacial 
times ; while across the bay at Brixham is the Windmill 
Hill Cave, the exploration of which finally settled, with 
scientific investigators, the contemporaneity of man and 
the extinct mammalia, and the high antiquity of the 
human race. Discoveries of flint and bone weapons and 
implements, pointing in the same direction, have also 
been made in the submerged forest beds of Torbay. 
Taking Torquay in its representative sense, we may fairly 
say, therefore, that while it is almost the youngest town 
in Devon, it is far and away the oldest settlement ; and that 
its age is not to be measured by common standards of 
chronology, but by the expression in geological terms of 

IS — 2 

292 History of Devonshire. 

the work done by natural forces since the appearance of 
the first traces of man. The latest expression of opinion 
by Mr. Pengelly, F.R.S. — iht authority on this special 
subject — is the probability of the inference that the 
hyaena did not reach the South of England until its last 
continental period, and that the men who made the 
Palaeolithic nodule-tools found in the oldest known deposit 
in Kent's Cavern arrived either during the previous great 
submergence, or what is more probable, unless they were 
navigators, during the first continental period. 

We cannot pretend to fill the gap that yawns between 
us and the era of even the later Palaeolithic men ; but 
the shores of Torbay afford evidence of continued occupa- 
tion from the dawn of the historic period. Not many 
years ago extensive earthworks could be traced on the 
uplands between Babbacombe and Anstis Coves, which 
have been deemed, upon slight grounds, to be of Roman 
character, but were probably Keltic, and the Apaunaris — 
continuing in name in the modern ' Hope's Nose ' — of the 
Ravennat. We have the * Apa ' also in * Babba,' no doubt 
of Norse origin. A large camp at Berry Head, the oppo- 
site horn of Torbay, was undoubtedly occupied by the 
Romans. Still the situation is not one they would have 
chosen in the first instance, and it resembles too closely 
the ancient cliff castles of Cornwall, the chief defence 
consisting of a rampart cutting off the extreme point of 
the promontory and protecting it against attack from the 
land side, not to suggest an earlier date than the Roman 
occupation. The character of Torbay is such as to invite 
the landing either of friends or foes, for commerce or for 
war ; and it has indeed been suggested as the ' Totnes 
shore,' whither the fabled Brutus found his way. 

The neighbourhood was popular with the Saxons. The 
place-names in the vicinity are almost exclusively of 
Teutonic character, and it affords two of the rare local 
instances of the proven existence of a church before the 

Torquay y PaigntoUy and Brixham. 293 

Conquest. * See Marie cerce ' appears in ' Domesday ' as 
belonging to the Earl of Moreton, and as having been 
held by Ordulf 'T.R.E.* The enumerated population 
being sixteen only, in all likelihood the manor was the 
ancient ecclesiastical centre of the district. The Saxon 
font is still in existence, preserved through the church- 
warden period by being partially buried, reversed, in the 
floor. It is ornamented with rude and very quaint 
carvings of figures of men and animals. The most notable 
exception to the prevailing Saxon nomenclature is Cock- 
ington, the first syllable in which is the Keltic cocA = red, 
referring, no doubt, to the red Triassic cliffs of that part 
of Torbay. 

Next in importance to St. Mary Church, as a prede- 
cessor of Torquay, and the actual germ out of which the 
modern town has grown, is the manor of Torre, held 
by William Hostiarius at the time of the Great Survey in 
succession to Alric, and possessing in 1086 an enumerated 
population of thirty-two; while that of the adjacent 
manor of Ilsham, which had fallen into the hands of this 
same * servant of the King,' is set down at half-a-dozen. 
Such are the first definite facts in the history of what is 
now proudly called (not without reason or rivalry) the 
' Queen of Watering-places.' 

The first real step in advance was taken when, in 1196, 
William de Briwere founded the great Abbey of Torre. 
De Briwere was a man of mark. There is a tradition 
that he was born on the shores of Torbay; there is 
another that he was found exposed on a heath, as an 
infant, and thence acquired his surname. Prince makes 
him out to be the descendant of Richard Bruer, a com- 
panion of the Conqueror. Whatever his origin, he won 
wealth and fame. In some way not clear he succeeded 
to the manor of Torre ; and he held prominent positions 
in the Courts of Henry II., Richard I., John, and 
Henry III. — a statesman of ability and trust. His family 

294 History of Devonshire. 

influence was greatly extended by the marriage of 
Reginald de Mohun, given him in ward by Henry III., 
with his fifth daughter, Alicia. This marriage carried 
Torre to the Mohuns, and the manor of Torre Briwere 
became the manor of Torre Mohun, in modem parlance 
Tormoham. Although one of the most powerful nobles 
of the West, De Briwere in the conflict between John and 
his barons took the side of the King, and orders were 
sent by that monarch in 1216 to Robert de Courtenay, 
Viscount of Devon and Governor of Exeter, to admit De 
Briwere and his forces into the city, if the garrison was 
not sufficiently strong. 

Torre Abbey was founded upon a pre-existing church, 
which, like that of the adjoining parish of Paignton, was 
seemingly of Norman origin. It was dedicated to the 
Holy Saviour, the Holy Trinity, and the Virgin ; and was 
first settled by an abbot and six monks in 1196. Norbertine 
or Premonstratensian, it became at length the richest 
house of the Order in the kingdom. De Briwere had 
himself been liberal of his gifts ; and eight years had not 
plapsed from its foundation before William Fitz Stephen 
gave it the church of Townstal, which brought Dartmouth 
within the abbatal jurisdiction. Among its other properties 
were the manor and church of Wolborough ; the manors 
of Ilsham, CoUaton, Kingswear ; lands at Buckland and 
Woodbury ; the tithes of St. Mary Church ; and several 
good livings. 

The monks, moreover, were business men, and became 
members of the Totnes Guild Merchant. An amusing 
though unpleasant episode occurred in the abbacy of 
William Norton, who was charged, in 1390, with having 
abused his powers as lord of the manor by cutting off the 
head of a canon named Hastings. The canon was pro- 
duced in the flesh to satisfy Bishop Brantyngham that he 
was not dead ; and the Bishop took him at his word. 
Other people, however, were not so easily satisfied; and 

Torquay^ Paignton^ and Brixham. 295 

therefore to this day the headless ghost of Simon 
Hastings makes hideous the dull November nights by 
galloping a spectral horse through Torre avenues. At 
the Dissolution in 1539, the annual revenues of the Abbey 
were set forth at ^^396 os. iid. 

The Abbey lands changed hands very rapidly. John 
St. Leger, to whom the site was granted, sold it to Sir 
Hugh Pollard. Pollard's grandson conveyed it to Sir 
Edmund Seymour, and he sold it to Thomas Ridgway, 
ancestor of the Earls of Londonderry, the lord of the 
manor of Torre Mohun, which John Ridgway and John 
Petre had bought of Edward VI. By the Ridgways the 
whole property was held until 1653. Torre Abbey was 
then sold to John Stowell, from whom nine years later it 
was purchased by Sir George Gary, of Gockington. Torre 
Mohun passed by the marriage of Lucy Ridgway, in 1716, 
to the Earls of Donegal ; and in 1768 was purchased by 
Sir Robert Palk. It now belongs to Lord Haldon, his 
descendant ; and Torre Abbey to Sir George Gary's repre- 
sentative, Mr. R. S. S. Gary. The Garys claim special 
notice among the notable houses of Devonshire. 

The * Domesday * manor of Kari, in the parish of St. 
Giles-in-the-Heath, was the first recorded seat of the 
Gary family ; and one branch continued to reside there 
so late as the reign of Elizabeth. As early, however, as 
the reign of Richard II. it ceased to be their principal 
home. Sir William Gary then settled at Glovelly, and his 
brother Sir John, Ghief Baron of the Exchequer, 
acquired, with many other manors, that of Gockington^ 
only to lose them all by deciding for Richard against the 
Commissioners. His attainder was reversed in favour of 
his son Robert, who gained the favour of Henry V. by 
vanquishing an Aragonese knight in Smithfield. Two 
generations later the family were again in difficulty. Sir 
William Gary, grandson of Robert, was an ardent 


296 History of Devonshire, 

Lancastrian ; and one of those who, after the £ital battle 
of Tewkesbaiy, took refbge in the Abbey Chnrch. Two 
days later the refugees were treacherously beheaded. 
The usual forfeiture followed; but Sir William's eldest 
son, Robert, obtained restoration from Henry VII. He 
was the ancestor of the present stock of Devonshire 
Caiys. From his half-brother spring the ennobled Carys, 
represented by Lord Falkland. 

The most notable Cary of Cockington was Sir George, 
bom about 1540, who took a leading part in the land 
arrangements for the defence of the country against the 
Spanish Armada. In conjunction with Sir John Gilbert 
of Compton, he had the charge of a large number of 
prisoners, taken in the Capitana^ flag-ship of Don Pedro 
de Valdez, captured by Drake in the Revenge^ after she 
had been well battered by Hawkins in the Victory^ and 
Frobisher in the Triumph. Captain Whiddon brought 
the Capitana into the bay, and her crew were lodged for a 
while in the great bam at Torre Abbey, hence to this day 
called the * Spanish Bam.' Gary's general services during 
this eventful period were zealous and great. His chief 
claim to rank as a worthy of Devon is based upon his 
official career in Ireland. Appointed by Elizabeth herself 
Treasurer of Ireland in March, 1599, he. entered at once 
upon his duties. They had a mournful commencement ; 
for in the September following, his only son George was 
killed, while serving under the Earl of Essex against 
O'Neill. A few days later, Essex left for England ; and, 
in addition to his Treasurership, Cary became Lord 
Justice. In Ireland, with one brief interval, he continued 
to serve until the death of Elizabeth ; and when James 
succeeded, to his other posts was added that of Lord- 
Deputy. In October, 1604, his repeated solicitations 
procured his relief from the cares of State, and Sir 
Arthur Chichester was appointed in his stead. On his 
death in 1617, his estates passed to his nephews. The 

Torquay^ Paignton^ and Brixham. 297 

Carys were staunch Royalists, and lost Cockington 
through the Civil Wars, when it became the property of 
its present owners, the Mallocks ; but Sir George Cary, 
great-nephew of the Lord - Deputy, purchased Torre 
Abbey in 1662, and the family are thus still settled in the 
locality where they attained their highest eminence. 

Several curious traditions are connected with the 
* Spanish Barn,' all originating, of course, in its use as a 
temporary prison. One is that large numbers of the 
prisoners were starved to death, grafted upon which is 
the further detail that a farmer, who secretly gave them 
food, was hung by the country-folk, whose hatred to the 
foreigners was most bitter. Then it is said that a body 
of Spaniards, who had landed with the intention of 
.plundering the Abbey, were kept on shore by an English 
fleet ; and, flying for refuge to the barn, perished from 
starvation. Another tradition, quite irreconcilable with 
its associates, is that the blood of the Spaniards ran like 
water down * Cole's Lane,* which, as Mr. White suggests, 
may have a foundation in fact if the prisoners, on their 
road to Exeter, tried to escape. But all the legends 
agree in this — that the spirits of the Spaniards still haunt 
the spot where they spent their last days. 

There is very little of the original structure of the Abbey 
itself left. Of the church there are a few fragments, in- 
cluding portions of the tower and chancel and the entrance 
to the chapter-house. The domestic buildings are in better 
preservation, and a fine gateway remains fairly intact, with 
the tower. During the progress of the latest restorations 
a very handsome crypt was opened out. 

Another Torquay antiquity, and almost the only com- 
panion of the Abbey, since the ancient mansion of Torwood 
Grange was removed, is a building known as St. Michael's 
Chapel, on the hill above the Torre railway station. 
There is no account of its origin, but it probabty dates from 

298 History of Devonshire. 

the twelfth century, and its religious character seems 
clear. Beyond this there is only the old Grange at Ilsham, 
once appendant, like Torwood, to the Abbey. 

In the early part of the seventeenth century Torquay 
seems to have been a place of some little importance 
under the name of Fleete (the Saxon name of the brook 
that formerly fell into the bay of the present harbour), 
which survives now only in Fleet Street ; and it is rather 
remarkable that so distinctive an appellation should 
have been lost. A lease, granted in May, 1678, gives 
capital evidence of the existence of a centenarian among 
the inhabitants. It was on the lives of John Goodman, 
Philippa his wife, and Mary his daughter, for ninety-nine 
years, and an endorsement testifies that Mary surrendered it 
in person in June, 1777. Torre Mohun has exceptional 
interest for students of tenures in its custom of free bench. 
The widow of a customary tenant had her free bench, 
save in case of incontinency, but that could be cured by 
the performance of the conditions set forth in Budgell's 
well-known Spectator article. * The custom of the Manor 
of Torre ' figures prominently in some of the caricatured 
directed against Queen Caroline. 

The history of Torbay is chiefly associated with naval 
expeditions. In early times its villages were included 
under the port of Dartmouth, and contributed to enhance 
the maritime fame of that historic port. Then we 
find it the seat of a steadily growing independent fishing- 
trade with Newfoundland, developed from the local 
fisheries which gave prosperity and prominence to 
Brixham. The first great fleet that used these waters 
was that which brought over William of Orange. Two 
years later Torbay was occupied by the French fleet 
which harassed the coast for the restoration of James, 
and a party from which burnt Teignmouth, finding that 
at Torbay the whole strength of Devon was drawn up 
to oppose them. Next, in 1703, Sir Cloudesley Shovel made 

Torquay, Paignton^ and Brixham. 299 

Torbay the rendezvous of the combined English and 
Dutch squadron under his command, destined for the 
Mediterranean. From that time onward its many ad- 
vantages appear to have been continuously recognised ; 
and it was a chief station of the British fleet during the 
great French wars. Torre Abbey was a favourite residence 
of Earl St. Vincent ; and it was only natural that not 
Torquay only, but Paignton and Brixham also, the other 
members of the Torbay town triad, should profit by the 
presence of the relatives of the officers, who were in the 
habit of visiting them, and who in many cases found it 
convenient to take up their residence in the houses that 
were speedily built for their accommodation. This was 
the real commencement of Torquay as a watering-place. 

The importance of Torbay at this period, in a national 
sense, had its drawbacks as well as its advantages. In 
November, 1803, it was confidently anticipated that 
Napoleon had chosen it as the scene of his descent on 
England. One reads with amusement now of the arrange- 
ments made at a very * respectable and numerous meeting' 
for the assembly of the infirm and children, who were 
unable to walk ten miles in one day, in three divisions, 
to be removed inland by horse and cart, while the able- 
bodied who were not employed on particular service were 
to meet the clergyman at the church to consider how 
they could render the greatest assistance to their neigh- 
bours and country. Twelve years later Napoleon did 
make his appearance at Torbay, but as a prisoner on 
board the Bellcrophon. He remained in Torbay from the 
24th July to the nth August, 1815, with the exception of 
four days during which the Bellcrophon proceeded to Ply- 
mouth; and on the nth he sailed for St. Helena in the 
Northumberland. Both in Torbay and Plymouth Sound 
there was an immense concourse of people in boats to see 
the fallen monarch; and the Torquay folk still recall 
with pride Napoleon's testimony to the charms of their 

;oo History of Devonshire. 

surroundings : * What a beautiful country ; how much 
it resembles the Porto Ferrajo in Elba !' 

It used to be said of Torbay, in consequence of its un- 
sheltered condition, and of the manner in which it was 
employed as a naval rendezvous, that it would one day be 
the grave of the British fleet. Happily, the prediction 
has not been realized, and the construction of the break- 
water at Plymouth having caused Torbay to be abandoned 
as a naval station, the danger may be held to have disap- 
peared. That such fears were not groundless was amply 
proved in January, 1866, when, of a large number of 
vessels which were lying in the bay windbound, fifty were 
wrecked and nearly 100 of their crews drowned. The 
actual loss was never accurately ascertained. Many 
vessels were stranded, and several sank at their anchors. 
This led to a proposal to construct a breakwater; but 
nothing was done until the late Lord Haldon, at his own 
expense, formed a new harbour at Torquay, which has 
largely developed its yachting interest. 

The manor of Paignton belonged to the See of Exeter 
before the Conquest. With the single exception of 
Crediton, it was the most valuable possession of the See 
when the Survey was taken, the returns having been raised 
from thirteen pounds to fifty. It had 36 serfs, 52 villeins, 
and 40 bordars, with 5 swineherds, and a salt-work. 
Hence we are not surprised to find in the tower doorway 
of its church evidence that it once possessed an important 
Norman fane. Paignton became a market-town in 1294 ; 
and at a very early date was selected by the bishops as an 
occasional residence. They held the manor until Bishop 
Veysey, by the royall requisition, conveyed it to William 
Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. Blagdon was the ancient 
seat of the Kirkhams, whose richly decorated Late Per- 
pendicular chantry is the most notable feature of the 
church interior. 

Torquay y Paignton^ and Brixliam. 301 

Additional interest attaches to the ruins of the old 
palace from the fact that its last episcopal occupant was 
the famous Myles Coverdale, eminent as a prelate, but 
still more eminent for his translation of the Bible, Pro- 
bably a Yorkshireman, little is certainly known about him 
until the appearance of his version of the Scriptures in 
1535. His first visit to Devon was as a kind of army 
chaplain to Lord Russell, while engaged in quelling the 
Western Rebellion in 1549. Two years later he was ap- 
pointed coadjutor Bishop of Exeter, and then it was he 
occupied the Paignton palace. As his Bible had at this 
time been in print some sixteen years, the baselessness of 
the local tradition, that it was translated at Paignton, 
is apparent. The accession of Mary led to his banish- 
ment, but it does not seem that on his return to England, 
when Elizabeth brought safer times, he again visited 

A note in the MS. autobiography of Dr. James Yonge, 
circa 1670-80, says, probably on the authority of current 
report at that date, * Paynton was anciently a Borrough 
town, and, as Is sayd, held her charter by a whitepot 
(whence Devonshire men are soe called), which was to 
be 7 yeares making, 7 baking, and 7 eating.' 

In the adjoining parish of Marldon is the fine old 
fortified house known as Compton Castle. Once the seat 
of a family of that name, it came to the Gilberts of Green- 
way by marriage with a coheiress. Though long a farm- 
house the * castle' is in very fair preservation. The 
gateway and chapel preserve their ancient character 
tolerably intact ; and the whole pile has a remarkably 
picturesque appearance. The elaborate machicolation is 
the most distinctive feature. 

Brixham, for centuries a fishing-port of note, has long 
been the chief fishing-town in Devon; and its fishing- 
boats are unsurpassed in excellence. It is the ' Briseham ' 


302 History of Devonshire. 

which Judhel of Totnes held in succession to Ulf, with its 
neighbour Cercetone, now Churston Ferrers. Brixham 
has in * Domesday * a population of 39 ; Churston of 
25 only, including 3 cotars ; but we have no other clue 
to their ancient history beyond that implied in the fact 
that the latter parish was a Saxon * church town ' on 
the south side of Torbay, precisely as St. Mary Church 
on the north. Brixham passed to the Novants and Valle- 
torts, and was some time held by the Bonviles. It is 
now very curiously owned. A division of the manor into 
quarters was followed by the purchase of the portion 
which came to the Gilberts by a dozen fishermen ; and 
their shares have again been divided and subdivided 
among fisher-folk, who are commonly known as the * quay 
lords,' though there are some * ladies.' Thus there are 
more * lords and ladies of the manor ' at Brixham, from 
the representatives of the Duke of Bolton downward, 
than in any other town in England. 

Nethway at one time belonged to Sir John Hody, Chief 
Justice of the King's Bench 1440, and the family con- 
tinued to live there until 1696. Sir William Hody was 
Lord Chief Baron in 1487. Lupton, once in the Peniles, 
Uptons, and Haynes, has been for nearly a century the 
seat of a branch of the BuUer family of Crediton, descended 
from Sir Francis BuUer (1746-1800), Justice of the King's 
Bench, and raised to the peerage by the title of Baron 
Churston in 1858. Churston was long held by the Yardes 
in succession to the family of Ferrers, and came to the 
Bullers by the marriage of the heiress of the Yardes with 
Sir Francis BuUer, the judge. The Churston Bullers 
have since used Yarde as an additional surname. 

But the historical relations of Brixham are far more 
than personal. The old village, commonly called Higher 
Brixham, is about a mile from Brixham town, or Lower 
Brixham, anciently known as Brixham Quay. At this quay 
it was that there landed, on the 5th of November, 1688, 

Torquay y Patgnto7t, and Brixham. 303 

William of Orange, on his way to the English throne. 
Upon the pier, though removed from the original site, is 
a simple memorial, the inscription whereon sets forth, 
* On this stone and near this spot, William, Prince of 
Orange, first set foot/ The event has happily suggested 
the device for the seal of the Local Board, which repre- 
sents the landing of the Prince, with the words of his 
motto, * I will maintain.' 

A very full and detailed contemporary account of the 
landing of the Prince and his followers is contained in a 
pamphlet published by a chaplain called Whittle, who 
was on board the fleet. When the people who crowded 
the cliffs to see the ships understood who had come, 
great, he says, was the shouting and delight. Great was 
the delight also at Torre Abbey, where Te Deum was 
sung under the impression that the vessels belonged to 
France 1 • The local traditions of the circumstances of the 
landing are curious, and undoubtedly embody sundry 
facts. William is said to have approached the shore and 
asked if he was welcome. Having explained his purpose 
he was told that he was. * If I am, then come and carry 
me on shore,' said he, and immediately a * stuggy [thick- 
set] little man ' jumped into the water and did so. This 
seems to be fairly historical, for it has been a constant 
tradition in the Varwell family that one of their ancestors 
not only assisted the Prince to land in the manner de- 
scribed, it being low water at the time, but gave him his 
first night's lodging in his house in Middle Street. Whittle, 
indeed, states definitely that William made his palace of 
one of the fishermen's little houses; and his leading 
followers were quartered in the houses around, while the 
troops camped out. 

The unhistorical part of the tradition comes in with an 
amusing rhymed address, which the inhabitants are said 
to have presented to their illustrious visitor : 

304 History of Devonshire. 

'And please your Majesty King William, 
You be welcome to Brixham Quay, 
To eat buckhorn and drink bohea 
Along with we. 
And please your Majesty King William.' 

No doubt need attach, however, to the fact of the preser- 
vation of the stone on which William first stepped on 

Among other local traditions are some stating that the 
country-folk took quantities of apples to Brixham and 
other points on the line of march to give to the troops. 
The Nonconformists of the district were especially hearty 
in their greeting; but, as a rule, men of position were 
slow to give in their adhesion. The first to do so was 
Mr. Nicholas Roope, a member of an ancient family living 
at Dartmouth. There is some reason, however, to believe 
that the Prince had a secret interview with Sir Edward 
Seymour of Berry (who openly joined him at Exeter) at a 
house since called Parliament House, between Berry and 
Brixham. It is probable also that other influential persons 
were present. The muniments of the Seymour family 
yield no information upon the point, for all the documents 
relating to those transactions appear to have been care- 
fully destroyed. 


Newton lies at the junction of the two parishes of High- 
week and Wolborough, and has been formed by the fusion 
of a couple of adjacent villages, which sprang up re- 
spectively under the patronage of lords of adjoining 
manors, the choice of site being clearly dictated by a 
position which was anciently at the head of the Teign 
estuary, but has long been separated therefrom, first by 
marshy, and afterwards by reclaimed land. Of these two 
towns or villages, one was called Newton Abbot, from the 
fact that Wolborough, in which it stood, formed part of 
De Briwere's endowment of Torre Abbey ; the other was 
named Newton Bushell, from the Bushells, its possessors 
in the latter half of the thirteenth century. Both names 
still exist, but Newton Abbot has developed so rapidly 
under the influence mainly of the railway system, of which 
it forms an important local junction, that the name of 
Newton Bushell is rarely heard, and even Newton Abbot 
is giving place to the simpler Newton. 

We can hardly venture to identify positively either of 
the ' Wiches ' of ' Domesday ' with the modern Highweek. 
Wolborough is probably the Vlgeberge which Alured the 
Briton held in succession to Alwin ; though the Vlveberie 
held by Ralph under Baldwin the Sheriff is almost as 
close. Highweek first appears, however, as part of the 

3o6 History of Devonshire. 

manor of Teignweek, given by Henry II. with Newton 
and Bradley to John, son of Lucas, his butler. As the 
name Bradley finds place more than once in * Domesday/ 
it is possible that Newton Bushell may be one of its 
Niwetons, and thus have the respectable antiquity of 
some nine centuries. The manor of Teignweek has 
always carried with it a moiety of the hundred of Teign- 
bridge ; and the occurrence of that name in * Domesday * 
proves the existence of a bridge there in Saxon times. 
Teignbridge is on the line of an old British trackway, 
and when the present structure was built in 1815, four 
previous bridges were found represented on the site; 
it is suggested that in the oldest of these we have Roman 
workmanship. Teignweek was given in 1246 to Theo- 
bald de Englishville, and by him to his foster-child and 
kinsman, Robert Bushell. The Bushells continued until 
Richard II., when their heiress brought it to the Yardes. 
In the Yardes it remained until 1751, when it was sold to 
Thomas Veale, and from him came to the Lanes. Bradley 
has long been the seat of the lords of Newton Bushell, 
and although much mutilated, still remains an interesting 
example in many of its details of a fortified mansion of 
the fourteenth century. 

Newton Bushell became a market-town by grant in 
1246 to De Englishville, but the market was allowed to 
lapse in favour of that of Newton Abbot, which was in 
existence in the reign of Edward I., if not earlier, and was 
acquired by the Yardes in the reign of Philip and Mary, 
and descended, with the estates, to the Lanes. The 
respective rights of the lord of the manor, and of the 
burgesses, are said to have been settled by deed in the 
reign of Edward II. 

Wolborough continued part of the possessions of Torre 
Abbey until the Dissolution. In the reign of James L it 
was bought by Sir Richard Reynell, the younger son of 
a family which had been settled in the adjacent parishes 

Newton. 307 

of the Ogwells as early as the fourteenth century. His 
heiress married Sir WiUiam Waller, the Parliamentary 
general; and Waller's daughter, in turn, Sir William 
Courtenay; from him it has descended to its present 
owner, the Earl of Devon, by whom the growth of the 
new town between the old town and the railway station 
has been judiciously guided and liberally developed. 

Manorial jurisdiction still continued in full sway at 
Newton until the present generation, and forty years since 
the portreeves elected for each moiety of the ancient 
* Newton ' both had seals of office. It is now governed by 
a Local Board whose seal is a curious compound. The 
central device is the tower which represents the old 
chapel of ease of St. Leonard, and stands at the * four 
ways;' then there are a mitre and pastoral staves to recall 
the Abbots of Torre, and a fleece to typify the ancient 
woollen trade. 

At Ford House Charles I. was twice entertained at his 
first visit to Devon, in September, 1625. Ford was then 
the seat of its builder. Sir Richard Reynell, and it was in 
partial recognition of the liberal hospitality shown that 
Charles knighted Reynell's two nephews — Richard Reynell 
of Ogwell, and his brother Thomas, who was the King's 
server. Charles was on his way to Plymouth to inspect 
the expedition designed for Cadiz, and on his return again 
made a halt at Ford, attending service at Wolborough 
Church, and touching a child for the evil. The bills of 
fare for the two entertainments have been carefully pre- 
served, so that we know that the first cost -£2^ 13s. sd., 
and the second ^^55 5s. Waller lived for a while at Ford 
during the Protectorate ; g.nd it was the first house of 
note that received William of Orange. 

On what was once the pedestal of the ancient market- 
cross of Newton is a modern inscription, setting forth, 
''The first declaration of William HI., Prince of Orange, 
the glorious defender of the liberties of England, was read 


So8 History of Devonshire. 

on this pedestal by the Rev. John Reynell, rector of this 
parish, 5th November, 1688/ It is very doubtful how far 
this may be regarded as an authority for anything more 
than the statement that the declaration was read from 
the spot. The date given is that of the landing, and the 
army did not reach Newton until the 7th. William 
appears to have reached Ford House on the 8th, leaving 
on the 9th ; and it was while he was there, according to 
Whittle, the army chaplain, that the declaration was read 
by * a certain divine ' who ' went before the army,' and 
not by the * minister of the parish.' If not Whittle him- 
self, it is probable that the reader of the declaration was 
Dr. (afterwards Bishop) Burnet. 

A hospital house was founded here by Lucy, Lady 
Reynell, in 1638, for the widows of clergymen. She set 
forth her idea of their need in the couplet : 

* Is 't strange a prophet's widowe poore should he ? 
Yf strange, then is the Scripture strange to thee.* 

Wolborough was the burial — probably the birth — place 
of a Devonian worthy — ^John Lethbridge, whose death is 
thus recorded in the parish register, * Dec. 11, 1759. 
Buried Mr. John Lethbridge, inventor of a most famous 
diving-engine, by which he recovered from the bottom of 
the sea, in different parts of the globe, almost ;f 100,000 
for the English and Dutch merchants, which had been 
lost by shipwreck.' Lethbridge appears to have been the 
first v/ho succeeded in turning diving-apparatus to any 
practical account ; and there is still extant a silver 
tankard, on which is engraven a map of Porto Santo^ 
where some of his chief exploits were done, and an 
illustration of the diving-apparatus at work. He dived 
on at least sixteen wrecks, some with good success. 

Newton has long developed an important trade in 
potting-clays, which are found largely in the immediate' 
neighbourhood, and worked by pits. Most of the clay^ 

Newton. 309 

raised is sent to Staffordshire ; but of late there has been 
a rapidly increasing development of local potteries, and 
the town is now the centre of a group of works, dotted 
at intervals from Bovey Tracey — where a pottery has 
existed considerably over a century — to Torquay, which 
produces the finest English terra-cotta. This local 
industry now includes the utilization alike of the most 
refractory and the finest clays of the district, and has 
developed to its present proportions within the past 
twenty years. In connection with clay-pits at Zitherixon, 
there was found, about 1866, a singular wooden image, 
which appears to have been associated with an ancient 
phallic cult, practised in the district centuries before the 
Christian era. In 1881, a canoe was found in the clay- 
beds of the same Bovey basin, which Mr. Pengelly regards 
as at least of glacial age. 

Haccombe is the most interesting parish in the vicinity 
of Newton, and one of the most singular in Devon. Of 
old time it was an extra-parochial chapelry; and as it 
was made an arch-presbytery by Sir John L'Ercedekne 
about the year 1341, so the rector of Haccombe is * arch- 
priest ' still. The college originally consisted of the arch- 
priest and five associates, who lived in community; but 
only the head now remains. As the seat of an arch- 
priest, Haccombe naturally used to claim exemption from 
the authority of an archdeacon ; and Haccombe itself 
was regarded as beyond the jurisdiction of any officers, 
civil or military, and as being free, by royal grant, from 
any taxes. Probably fewer changes as to population 
have taken place here than in any other manor in Devon 
which has developed into a parish. When Stephen held 
it under Baldwin the Sheriff, it had a recorded population 
of 15. It now contains simply the manor-house, rectory, 
and farm ; and the population is largely dependent upon 
the residence of the family at the time of the census. 
Normally, it is below 20 ; and at one enumeration it was 

3IO History of Devonshire. 

but 13. Stephen took name from his manor, and the 
heiress of his family brought it to the Ercedeknes. By 
marriage it then came through the Courtenays to its 
present owners, the Carews. The church dates from the 
thirteenth century, and contains some fine effigies of the 
Haccombes, with brasses of the Carews, and a high 
tomb which probably commemorates the Courtenay 
owners — Hugh and Philippa, his wife. On the door of 
the church were formerly four horse-shoes, relics, accord- 
ing to the legend, of a wager made between a Carew and 
a Champernowne, as to who would swim on horseback 
the farthest to sea. Carew won the wager, and with it a 
manor, and nailed the shoes of his horse to the church 
door in * everlasting remembrance.' 

Kings and Abbots Kerswill are so named from the 
former being originally in the Crown, while the latter was 
part of the estates of the Abbey of Torre. Cofiinswell 
adjoining, though named from the family of Coffin, was 
also in part the property of the Abbey. Daccombe, here, 
was the inheritance of a family of that name, and was 
given by Jordan de Daccombe to the same house. At 
Kingsteignton are the principal clay-pits of the neigh- 
bourhood. Like Teignweek, this manor carried with it a 
moiety of the hundred of Teignbridge. Early in the 
sixteenth century it came to the ancestors of the present 
owner, Lord Clifford. Two sons of vicars of this parish 
have gained some note — Theophilus Gale, a Noncon- 
formist divine, born in 1628 ; and De Beeke, Dean of 
Bristol, whose father held the vicarage for sixty-one years. 
De Beeke was the discoverer of the Beekites in the local 
Trias, thence named. Teigngrace takes name from the 
Grace or Graas family, who succeeded the Briweres, after 
whom it had been previously named Teign Briwere. 
Stover is the Devonshire seat of the Dukes of Somerset. 
Teigngrace Canal was made by the Templars, former 
'ords of the manor, for carriage of pipe»ciay and granite. 



Teignmouth was evidently a place of resort in Saxon 
times ; and the older annalists claim it as the scene of the 
first landing of the Danes. But that took place near 
Weymouth in the year 787 ; and it is many a long year 
after this date ere any mention can be found of Teign- 
mouth. The first distinct reference to the locality appears 
to be the statement that in looi the Danes ' burned 
Tegntun and also many other good hams, . . . and peace 
was afterwards made there with them.' This Tegntun 
was not Teignmouth but Kingsteignton ; still there is &ir 
presumptive evidence that the germs, or something more 
than the germs, of this pleasant little seaport then existed. 
Thus much at least is clear, &om a grant made by Ead- 
weard the Confessor of certain lands which included what 
is now East Teignmouth, that in the year 1044 there stood 
at Teignmouth a church dedicated to St. Michael, while on 
the bank of the estuary there were certain sheds used for 
the manufacture of salt, called ' salterns.' St. Michael 
stood in what was commonly recognised as the older part 
of Teignmouth in the time of Leland. The old fabric 
was destroyed in 1S21. Its very peculiar architectural 
arrangement, especially the singularly defensive character 
and venerable appearance of its towers, favour the idea 
that part at least of the ancient structure bad remained 

History of Devonshire. 

from Saxon times ; and that the fortress was quite as 
prominent in the minds of its constructors as the church. 

There have long been two Teignmouths in the one 
town — East and West — and both for many centuries 
belonged, the one to the See of Exeter and the other to 
the Dean and Chapter. West Teignmonth was alienated 
in 1549 by Bishop Veysey, and was for a time in the Cecils, 
but has long been the property of the Cliffords. East 
Teignmouth was sold early in the present century by the 
Dean and Chapter, and is now the property of the Earl 
of Devon, whose ancestors are said to have acquired the 
manor of Teignmouth Courtenay temp. Edward III. 

Teignmouth — speaking of the twin portions jointly — 
was anciently regarded as a borough, and sent represen- 
tatives to a shipping council under Edward I. The 
market grant dates from 1253, The silver staff of the 
portreeve has engraven thereon for arms, azure a saltire 
■gules- between four fleur-de-lis converging. The Local 
Board use a seal with the same device, and the legend : 
'SIGILL burghi'teignemuthiensis, 1002;' possibly the 
date refers to the descent of the Danes. 

Teignmouth was one of the sufferers from the forays of 
the French during the Middle Ages. Stowe declares that 
it was ' burnt up ' by them in 1340 ; but it is not quite 
clear how that can have been, when we find it in 1347 
sending seven ships and 120 sailors to the expedition 
against Calais. For some centuries thereafter Teign- 
mouth appears to have had an uneventful but a prosperous 
career ; depending largely, indeed mainly, upon fishing. 
The salt with which the fish were cured continued to be 
manufactured upon the spot so late as the year 1692, 
operations having in all likelihood been carried on without 
a break from Saxon times. 

It was in 1690 that the most memorable event in the 
history of Teignmouth happened. The French fleet were 
lying in Torbay, where the forces of the county were 

Tei^nmouth and Dawlish. 313 

drawn up to oppose their landing. Taking advantage of 
this, certain of the galleys battered Teignmouth, follow- 
ing up a bombardment of * near two hundred great shot' 
by landing 1,700 men. The inhabitants, with that dis- 
cretion which is so very much the better part of valour, 
fled when the attack began, so that the invaders had an 
easy victory. For three hours the town was ransacked 
and plundered, and then fired, 116 houses being burnt, with 
eleven vessels lying in the harbour. * Moreover,' says a 
MS. record of the disaster, written by Mr. Jordan, * to 
add sacrilege to their robbery and violence, they in a 
barbarous manner entered the two churches in the said 
town, and in a most unchristian manner tore the Bibles 
and Common Prayer Books in pieces, scattering the leaves 
thereof about the streets, broke down the pulpits, over- 
threw the communion-tables, together also with many 
other marks of a barbarous and enraged cruelty; and 
such goods and merchandise as they could not or dare 
not stay to carry away for fear of our forces, which were 
marching to oppose them, they spoiled and destroyed, 
killing very many cattle and hogs, which they left dead 
behind them in the streets.' Something like a third, of 
the town was destroyed in this last invasion of Devon- 
shire, and the loss sustained was computed at £11,030 
6s. lod. A brief for the collection of this sum was read 
in all the churches throughout the country, and the money 
raised. The event is commemorated by the name French 
Street, given to a part of the town destroyed and rebuilt. 

However, recovery was speedy. In 1744 the inhabi- 
tants, by permission of Sir William Courtenay, built a 
battery on the * Den ' at East Teignmouth ; and the port 
is then said to have had a population of 4,000, and to fit 
out twenty vessels for the Newfoundland trade. This 
Den (= dune) is now a public lawn adjoining the beach. 

Shaldon, a transfluvial suburb of Teignmouth, is partly 
in Stokeinteignhead, and partly in Ringmore or St. 

3 T 4 History of Devonshire. 

Nicholas ; but has no separate history of importance. 
At Stokeinteignhead Church is one of the oldest brasses 
in the county — ^to a priest, circa 1375. 

At Radway, in Bishopsteignton, are the ruins of the 
palace and chapel of the Bishops of Exeter, with whom 
the * Bishop's-town-on-Teign ' was for ages a favourite 
retreat. This * fair house ' was built by Bishop Grandisson 
in the early part of the fourteenth century. There is little 
left now to indicate the character of what the bishop him- 
self, in a letter to Pope John XXII., called a beautiful 
structure, and described in his will as convenient and 
costly buildings. The few remains form part of a farm- 
house. Comparing Bishops with Kingsteignton — the 

* King's-town-on-the-Teign ' — it has been wittily observed 
that the preference shown by the prelates for the more 
beautiful spot of the two, shows how superior the older 
bishops were in discernment. However, Bishop Veysey 
had to alienate it, like West Teignmouth, in favour of 
Sir Andrew Dudley, so that royalty got the upper hand 
after all. 

The history of Dawlish begins in the reign of Eadweard 
the Confessor, with the grant in 1044 by that King of 
seven manses of land to his * worthy chaplain * Leofric, 
afterwards the first Bishop of Exeter. The grant was at 

* Doflisc,' which Mr. J. B. Davidson, to whom we are 
indebted for the full identification of the localities, read 
as 'devil water;* and it comprised not only Dawlish 
but what is now the present parish of East Teignmouth 
in addition, with almost absolute exactness. Two years 
later Leofric succeeded Lyfing as Bishop of Crediton, 
and four years later still removed to Exeter. After the 
Conquest Leofric gave these lands to St. Peter's Minster 
as part of the endowments of his See. Becoming the 
property of the Dean and Chapter, Dawlish was sold by 
them, like East Teignmouth, early in the present century. 

Teigntnouth and Dawlish. 315 

Hardly any town in Devon has so uneventful a history 
as Dawlish. A village it remained all through the centuries, 
with a fitful fishing and smuggling life, until something 
like a hundred years ago its advantages as a bathing-place 
gave a new direction to energies which, after all, only 
needed to be encouraged. The one event in the history 
of Dawlish is connected with this development. A number 
of houses had been built by the side of the Dawlish Water, 
which flows down the centre of the pleasant combe to the 
sea, and several * improvements ' had been made, when,^ 
on the night of November 9th, 1810, a sudden torrent 
descending the valley from Haldon washed everything 
away. This is * the Flood ' at Dawlish. Since then 
Dawlish has enjoyed steady and substantial progress, and 
has been made one of the most charming spots on the 
coast. Luscombe, the seat of a branch of the Hoares 
of Stourhead, a lovely domain, has a private chapel of 
great richness and beauty, erected from the designs of Sir 
Gilbert Scott. 

Two chapels formerly existed in this parish, ruins of 
which remain and to which certain traditions attach. 
That at Cofton was in existence as early as 1376. Lidwell, 
or Lithwyll, was dedicated to St. Mary. 

In the adjoining parish of Mamhead is the seat of Sir 
R. Newman. The manor passed through the Pomeroys, 
Peverells, and Carews, to the Balles. Sir Peter Balle, 
Recorder of Exeter and Attorney-General to Henrietta 
Maria, rebuilt the house, and planted many trees. The 
last member of that family erected an obelisk on Mamhead 
Point in 1742, and added greatly to the beauty of the 
place by his plantations. Mamhead is famed for its trees; 
and here, it is said, the ilex oak was first grown in England 
from acorns. Sir Peter Balle garrisoned his house for the 
King, and, as his epitaph states, * suffered the usual fate 
of loyalty.' The present house was in great part rebuilt 
by Wilmot, Earl of Lisburne. 



Probably Chudleigh is one of the numerous Leges of 
' Domesday,' ahd therefore not to be certainly identified, 
though it may be one of the two Chiderlies of the Count 
of Moreton. We first find it an appendage to the See of 
Exeter, saddled with the duty of providing twelve wood- 
cocks, or in lieu thereof twelve pence, for the bishop's 
election dinner ; and Bishop Stapledon in 1309 obtained 
the grant of a market. There was an episcopal palace, 
of which a few fragments yet exist, and here it was that 
Bishop Lacy died in 1455. The church had been dedi- 
cated by Bronescombe in 1259. The manor was alienated 
by Veysey in 1550, and came to its owners, the Cliffords, 
then of their present seat of Ugbrooke, in 1695. 

Ugbrooke is said to have been attached to the precentor- 
ship of Exeter Cathedral until, in the sixteenth century, 
it passed to Sir Peter Courtenay, by whose daughter and 
coheiress, Anne, it was brought to her husband, Anthony 
Clifford of Borscombe, Wilts, a younger branch of the 
famous Cliffords of Cumberland. He was the ancestor of 
the Ugbrooke house, the first distinguished member of 
which was the celebrated Lord Treasurer, Clifford of the 
Cabal (1630-1673), whom Charles in 1672 created Baron 
Clifford of Chudleigh. 

Chudleigh supplied quarters to Fairfax in January, 

Chudleigh and Bovey Tracey, 317 

1646 ; and the only incidents of local note in its history 
have been its fires. The most disastrous of these occurred 
May 22, 1807, when 166 houses, nearly half the total 
number, were destroyed, and damage done to the extent 
of £60,000. An Act of Parliament was passed in the 
following year for the more easy rebuilding of the town 
and determining differences, and £21,000 was subscribed 
for the relief of the poorer inhabitants. 

The scenery of Ugbrooke has been justly characterized 
as an epitome of that of the county ; and not far from 
Chudleigh is a bold crag of limestone, called Chudleigh 
Rock, in which are a couple of caverns. One of these is 
associated with the folk-lore of the district as the Pixie's 
Hole, and with science by having yielded remains of the 
(locally) extinct cave mammalia. 

Ashton was for over four centuries the residence of the 
Chudleigh family, who lived at Place. The manor was 
given by the Conqueror to Hervey de Helion, and held at 
* Domesday ' by his wife. It came to the Chudleighs 
about 1320. Sir George Chudleigh, the first baronet, 
sided with the Parliament when the Civil War broke out, 
and took part in the battle of Stratton. Not long after 
he changed sides, and had his house garrisoned in the 
Royalist interest. It was taken by a party of Fairfax's 
army in December, 1645 ; and Colonel James Chudleigh, 
Sir George's eldest son, was killed at the storming of 
Dartmouth in the following month, when Place was a 
garrison for the Parliament. The Chudleigh baronetcy 
ended in 1745, when Sir James Chudleigh was killed at 
the siege of Ostend. 

Another notable Cavalier garrison in this locality was 
Canonteign, or Christow ; and it, too, was stormed and 
taken by Fairfax's troops in December, 1645. The 
Roundhead Governor was Colonel Okey, executed at the 
Restoration as a regicide. Christow belonged to the 
Abbey of Bee. On the seizure of the property of the 

3i8 History of Devonshire. 

alien priories it passed to the Abbey of Tavistock ; and at 
the Dissolution came, with other possessions of that 
house, to Lord Russell. Canonteign belonged to another 
alien house — that of De la Valle ; but was granted by the 
fraternity, circa 1268, to Merton, Surrey. At the Dis- 
solution this also came to Lord Russell. Another estate 
in the parish — Pope House — belonged to the Priory of 
Cowick. The manors of Christow and Canonteign, after 
passing through various hands, came to the Helyars ; and 
were purchased, in 1812, by Sir Edward Pellew, after- 
wards created Viscount Exmouth. 

Kennock Church was given to the Abbey of Torre in 
the reign of Richard I. by Philip de Salmonville. Bottor 
Rock, on * the authority of the peasantry,' was a seat of 
' Druidical worship.' With better grounds it is to be 
regarded as a genuine hill-fort of great age. At Lustleigh 
church-door is, however, an antiquity of much greater 
interest — a threshold-stone of Romano-British date, in- 
scribed CATViDOC CONRINO. The Prouzes, sometime 
lords of Lustleigh, are commemorated by a cross-legged 
effigy of Sir Wm. Prouz, temp. Edward IL ; and there 
are a couple of iigures ascribed to Sir John Dynham and 
his wife Emma. 

Bovey Tracey has a history which, could it be fully 
worked out, would in all probability throw considerable 
light upon early village life in the county. The ' Domes- 
day ' entry is notable ; for there can be no doubt that 
this is the ' Bovi ' held by Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances, 
in succession to Edric, with its 32 serfs, villeins, and 
bordars, its mill, and its added lands of 15 thanes, who 
retained between them two hides and half a virgate, 
paying therefore four pounds and thirty pence. The 
manor came to the Tracys, whence its distinctive name, 
as part of the barony of Barnstaple ; and Henry Tracy 
obtained grant of market and feir in 1259. This was one 

Chudleigh and Bovey Tracey. 319 

of the Devonshire manors held by Margaret of Richmond, 
and has been in the Courtenays since 1747. 

Bovey Heathfield is remarkable, geologically and 
economically, for its deposits of clay and lignite, or wood- 
coal. These are of Lower Miocene age, and fill the bed 
of an ancient lake. The association of clay and coal led 
to the establishment in 1772 of a pottery at Indiho (the 
house is traditionally said to be of monastic origin), which 
has been continued to the present time, though the lignite 
is no longer used for firing. 

Bovey had a * mayor,' and a customary mayor's show, 
though this officer was really the portreeve. At each annual 
manor court a bailiff and portreeve were elected, and the 
bailiff of one year was the portreeve of the next. The set 
day for the * mayor's riding ' was the Monday after the 
3rd of May, called * Roodmas Day ;' and to properly 
discharge the duties of his office, the portreeve had the 
profits of a field called * Portreeve's Park.' 

One of the few incidents of note connected with 
Cromwell's visit in 1646 with Fairfax to the West of 
England, occurred at Bovey Tracey. He had marched 
from Tiverton through Crediton, and by the Teign valley 
towards Chudleigh, and suddenly fell upon one of Lord 
Wentworth's brigades at Bovey. The Royalists were all 
unaware of danger, and the officers were playing cards 
to pass the time, instead of keeping a sharp look-out ; 
when suddenly, without warning, just as night had fallen 
in, Cromwell's troopers came upon the scene. The officers 
are credited with great presence of mind. Defence was 
out of the question ; so they opened the windows, threw 
the stakes for which they were playing among the 
Roundheads, and, during the scramble for the silver, 
escaped by the back-door. Not so their men, some 80 
of whom were captured, besides 400 horse and several 
colours. There was an end, thenceforward, of all hope 
of successful resistance in the field. 



Until Moretonhampstead was made a railway station, 
and Chagford had developed into a favourite moorland 
health-resort, no two country towns in Devon had a more 
thoroughly old-world character. It was within the 
memory, indeed, of the late Sir John Bowring that the 
only wheeled vehicle ever seen in Moretonhampstead was 
a wheelbarrow, and its communications with the outer 
world were either by foot, pack-horse, or pillion. The 
pillion lingered on much later, and seeing that the lady, 
riding behind the gentleman, had to clasp him closely for 
security at any rough part of the road, it is a wonder that 
with, all its inconveniences it has not survived. The 
custom supplied a pleasant comment for an old Devon- 
Shire vicar, on the text of the man who had married a wife 
and could not attend the feast, ' A vain excuse, my friends 
— a vain excuse ! he could have brought her behind him 
on a pillion !' 

There is extant an amusing but utterly absurd tradition 
of the foundation of Moreton, as it is now commonly 
called for brevity, by a party of Flemings in three sections, 
consisting of the ' Moortown,' the ' ham,' and the ' stead.' 
It has just thus much of truth, that the place once pos- 
sessed a considerable serge manufacture, in which pro- 
bably Flemings had some interest. Moreton, however, is 

Moretonhampstead and C hag ford. 3 2 1 

far older than the woollen trade, for it appears in 

* Domesday ' as a royal manor, which had belonged to 
Harold, to which pertained the third penny of the 
hundred of Teignbridge, and which had a population of 
twenty-eight. Under Edward I. the Earl of Ulster held 
it by the render of a sparrow-hawk, but for several 
centuries it has belonged to the Courtenays. Hugh de 
Courtenay obtained a market grant in 1335. According 
to the Lysonses, the manor of Daccombe, belonging to the 
Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, had the custom of free 
bench, and the lord was obliged to keep a cucking-stool 
for the use of scolding women. An ancient Baptist 
(Unitarian) Society here is traditionally said to have 
existed since the reign of Mary, and to have furnished 
members of the roll of martyrs. This would make it the 
oldest Nonconformist congregation in the county ; but 
the oldest of which the origin is certainly known is the 
Baptist church at Tiverton, which dates from 1600. The 
woollen manufacture and the intercourse with the Low 
Countries consequent thereon, led easily to the introduc- 
tion of Reformed views of religion into Devon. 

A notable old poorhouse (1637) still remains at Moreton; 
and a field near the church is called the Sentry, quasi- 

Though the documentary evidence for the early history 
of Chagford is very slight, there are sufficient proofs in 
the rude-stone monuments of the locality to give it high 
antiquity ; and in the traces of ancient mining to show 
that its selection as a stannary town had been preceded 
by long centuries of enterprise. Tin mining, indeed, was 
so prominent an occupation that the tinners were tithed, 
and each * spallier,' or spade labourer, paid annually his 

* shovell penny.' For many a long year Chagford seems 
to have steadily thriven, and to have developed a sturdy 
independence of character that its comparative isolation 
on the borders of Dartmoor greatly helped to maintain. 


322 History of Devonshire. 

Within a very few years it was the quaintest of all the 
moorland centres ; but its greater accessibility as a summer 
resort has hopelessly modernized its leading features. 
Nor is this to be wondered at. So delightful are its sur- 
roundings in the summer-time, and so proud are the 
natives of its attractions, common rumour avers that 
if a Chagford man is then asked where he lives, his sharp 
retort is, ' Chagford, and what do you think ?' But in 
winter, so depressed is he by the change of conditions, 
the rejoinder will be *Chaggyford, good Lord!' The 
joke is an old one, but an apt illustration of the sharply 
contrasted conditions of the moorland climate. 

A scarce black-letter tract tells the * True Relation of 
the Accident at Chagford in Devonshire.' The market- 
house fell in * presently after dinner,' upon a ' tin court 
dale,' and Mr. Eveleigh, the steward, with nine others, 
died. This is the chief event in the purely local history, 
and Chagford has only one link of importance with 
matters of national concern. It lay too much out of the 
ordinary course of traffic to be greatly moved even when 
* civil dudgeon ' grew most high ; and yet it was at a 
skirmish here, in 1642, that Sidney Godolphin fell. 

Of the families connected with Chagford, the most im- 
portant are the Prouzes and the Whyddons. The Cople- 
stones at one time held the manor, and by Master Cople- 
stone the markets were sold to the town in 1564* The 
Gorges, too, must have had an interest in the parish, from 
the frequent occurrence of their arms on the roof-bosses 
in the parish church, which was originally dedicated in 
1261. Chagford was then held by Thomas de Chagford, 
and he, in 1299, sold it to Simon de Wibbery, whose 
descendants held it for nigh two centuries. Of the 
Whyddons the most notable was the eminent judge. Sir 
John, Serjeant-at-Law under Edward VI., and Judge of 
the Queen's Bench in the first year of Mary. He died 
January 27, 1575, and his monument forms one of the 

Moretonhampstead and C hag ford. 323 

leading features of Chagford Church. Whyddon Park is 
a stretch of broken shaggy moorland hillside descending 
to the Teign. 

That Gidleigh gave name to the family of Gidley is 
certain, but whether it came to them by a grant from 
' one Martine Duke and Earl of Cornwall ' to ' his nephew, 
Giles de Gidleigh,' as Weslcote affirms, may be doubted, 
and certainly cannot now be proved. The family of Prouz, 
who were associated with the manor and built a castle 
here in early Edwardian times, of which the shell yet 
remains, are said to have acquired it by marriage with 
the heiress of Giles de Gidleigh ; and, as one of the 
Prouzes is stated to have been steward to Richard, King 
of the Romans, it is not difficult to see how Westcote's 
story may have arisen. After the line of Prouz and 
their successors had long passed away, a Gidley, if not 
the Gidley family, came back again, and for awhile the 
manor was once more in the old name. Bartholomew 
Gidley (died 1686) was a local Royalist leader of note. 

The district is one of the chief centres of the Druid- 
ical superstition of last-century antiquaries and their 
followers. Holy Street, in Gidleigh, giving title to the 
mill first painted by Creswick, and since his day by 
hundreds of artists, has been regarded as a Druidical 
via siwm purely on the score of its name, which in all 
probability indicates simply an ancient ' hollow ' road. 
But this via sacra is very mild etymology when com- 
pared with the arguments used by Polwhele to prove 
Drewsteignton a Druidical ' capital,' by reading it ' Druid's- 
town-on-Teign.' Drewsteignton, as such, is not to be 
found in ' Domesday ;' but from the extent of woodland 
is probably the Taintone held by Baldwin the Sheriff, in 
succession to Offers. The prefix unquestionably comes 
from Drogo or Drewe, who held the manor in the 
reigns of Henry II. and Richard I. 

The place has, however, substantial claims to anti- 
quarian celebrity. Here stands, on a farm called Shil- 
21 — a 

324 History of Devonshire. 

stone, the only cromlech left in Devon, which once formed 
the central feature of a group of stone circles and avenues. 
It fell in January, 1862, and was * restored ' in the same 
year. Though the * quoit ' is two feet thick, fifteen in 
length, and ten in breadth, a builder and a carpenter of 
Chagford, by the aid of pulleys and a screw-jack, re- 
placed it at a cost of £20 ; and thus very much reduced 
the vague wonder that commonly attaches to the erection 
of such structures. The village tradition is that the 
* Spinster's Rock,' as it is called, was erected by three 
spinsters one morning before breakfast ; and these have 
been suggested as the Valkyriur. Bradford Pool close by, 
with the cromlech, and with a logan stone in the bed of 
the Teign, at Whyddon Park, have all been * prayed in aid ' 
of the Druidical hjrpothesis : but the pool is only a col- 
lection of water in an old mining excavation, and the 
logan, like scores of others on the adjacent moors, is of 
purely natural origin. It is quite possible that Shilstone 
estate took name from the cromlech as ' Shelfstone ;' and 
there was a Selvestan held by Osbern de Salceid in suc- 
cession to Edric, which would suit the locality, and which 
is moreover remarkable for having adjacent a virgate of 
land that nobody — nemo — held T.R.E. 

There is other evidence in the fine hill-forts of Cran- 
brook and Prestonbury, which command the gorge of 
the Teign at Fingle Bridge, that the neighbourhood was 
an important one in Keltic times. 

Great Fulford, in the parish of Dunsford, has been the 
seat of the notable family of Fulford, literally from * time 
immemorial ;' and of no other house in Devon can it be 
suggested with so much probability that 

" When the Conqueror came it was at home." 

Direct history, at least, takes us back to the reign of 
Richard I. ; and ' Domesday ' shows a connection with 
the manor of Bovi, already cited as being held by Geoffrey, 
Bishop of Coutances, and as having attached thereto the 

Aloreionhampstead and Chagford. 325 

lands of fifteen thanes. One of the estates held by these 
thanes is Filauefford ; so that there is good evidence in 
1086 that the Saxon owners of Great Fulford had not been 
dispossessed ; while the parent stock of Fulfords were 
certainly there within a century. The other Foleford of 

* Domesday/ held by Motbert under Baldwin the Sheriff, 
was a small manor, identifiable with Little Fulford in 
Shobrooke. Be all this as it may, among the most dis- 
tinguished Crusaders of the West were Sir William, Sir 
Baldwin, and Sir Amias de Fulford, In the Wars of the 
Roses the Fulfords took the Lancastrian side ; and S\\ 
Baldwin, who fought at Towton, was beheaded at Hexham, 
in 1461. But the family remained true, and his son. Sir 
Thomas, was attainted for espousing the cause of the 
Earl of Richmond, in 1483. He also took part in the 
relief of Exeter, when it was besieged by Perkin Warbeck, 
in 1497. The forfeiture only lasted a couple of years. 

In the Wars of the Commonwealth, as was to be ex- 
pected, the Fulfords were staunch Royalists ; and Colonel, 
subsequently Sir Francis, Fulford made Fulford a royal 
garrison. His son Thomas was killed in the service ; and 
in December, 1645, the house was taken by Fairfax, and 
placed under the command of Colonel Okey. The mansion 
is, in the main, Elizabethan, and contains a royal recog- 
nition of the family loyalty in a portrait of Charles I. 

Near the village of Manaton is a curious pile of rocks, 
called * Bowerman's Nose,' the natural effect of weather- 
ing upon cubical-jointed granite. This has been deemed 
a rock idol, and held to have taken name from a certain 
Bowerman, who, according to a supposed ' Domesday * 
entry that no one has been able to find since it was fl st 
' discovered ' half a century since, held the manor. But 
Bowerman is only the Keltic Veor (fnaur) maen = the 

* great rock,' as Manaton is Maeny dun = the 'rocky hill.' 



The great central waste of Devon, itself as large as many 
a county, has a history of its own. Its features are now 
so marked that we are apt to regard it as having always 
borne its distinctive character ; and much error has arisen 
by reasoning from this false premise. Gaunt and bare 
the higher regions of Dartmoor were throughout the 
Stone and Bronze periods, and so are still ; but its 
valleys and outskirts, in the days of its most ancient 
dwellers, were indistinguishable in natural characteristics 
from the county at large. Woods and heaths, broken 
only in their gloomy monotony by strips of water-made 
meadow skirting the wider river-courses, were the lead- 
ing features, not of Dartmoor and its borders only, but of 
all Devonia ; and the scanty population was scattered in- 
differently through its wilds. Dartmoor is simply the last 
refuge of the traces of these ancient days — a prehistoric 
island, girdled and wasted by the encroaching waves of 
an aggressive civilization. The very name is a proof of 
later differentiation. Dunmonia, Deuffnynt, the ' Land 
of Hills,' or the 'Land of Deep Valleys,' whichever may 
be accepted as the parent of the modern ' Devon,' are but 
two modes of expressing the same physical features, the 
ancient names of Dartmoor and the shire alike. Only 
when clearing and enclosure had given an artiiicial 

Dartmoor. 327 

character to the lowlands did the upland country receive 
its distinctive name. The fact that the Saxons called the 
north of Devon the North Hams (Aaw = dwelling), and the 
south the South Hams, is a proof of the unpeopled 
character of Dartmoor in the Saxon period ; and it is at 
least possible, indeed very probable, that the majority 
of the British settlements on Dartmoor, the traces of 
which still exist, were formed by the Kelts as they were 
pushed back by the encroachments of the Saxon colonists. 
Moreover, Darivaoox is a name that must have been given 
by men who were more familiar with the Dart than with 
any other of the numerous rivers that descend from its 
plateau on all sides. The early history of Dartmoor is 
very far as yet from having been fully traced. Passed 
over in * Domesday,* not afforested with certainty until 
the twelfth century, there appears good evidence that it is 
the remnant of an extended area of national or folk-land. 
A peculiar right of commonage continues known as 
Venville tenure — which is accompanied also by feudal 
service — enjoyed by residents in the parishes skirting the 
Moor. And this in all likelihood dates from Saxon times 
(?:£'aw^ = field in Saxon, and Wangefield is an early form of 
Venville), and represents the rights of common which the 
Saxon dwellers in the border district had enjoyed over 
the moorlind waste, and which, maintained after the 
Conquest, have descended to the present day. 

But we are here dealing with a comparatively modern 
period in the history of Dartmoor. This great waste has 
been pronounced by Mr. Lukis unrivalled in this country 
ill the extent and character of its rude-stone monuments 
— its menhirs, lines, circles, huts, trackways, pounds. No 
doubt, like the barrows, with which these remains are in 
part contemporary, the construction of these primitive 
structures did continue even beyond the dawn of historic 
times ; but they too, like the barrows, stretch back into a 
grey antiquity, the dimness of which we cannot penetrate. 

328 History of Devonshire. 

The * hut-rings ' are small circular heaps of stones 
which formed the foundations of rude dwellings ; the 

* pounds ' are much larger enclosures, which commonly 
surround or are associated with the rings. Both are found 
in considerable numbers in almost every part of the Moor. 
We have here dwellings and fortified or protected villages, 
but with little to date them by. Hovels as rude, and 
erected much upon the same plan, may be seen on the Moor 
now. These traces of ancient habitation are very frequent 
on the slopes overlooking the Dartmoor rivers, the beds 
of which have been 'streamed,' as it is called, for tin, and 
here represent the settlements of the ancient tinners, 
stretching in some cases with little interval for miles along 
the valleys. But if the hut-rings merge into the rude moor- 
land dwellings of our own day in one direction, on the 
other they are linked with relics of which no tradition 
preserves the purpose — with * menhirs ' and * lines,' or 

* avenues,' with the so-called ' sacred circles,' and the 

* cromlechs,' all or nearly all of which appear to be con- 
nected with, or to mark, interments. 

One of the most notable groups of these remains is at 
Merrivale Bridge, where there are large numbers of hut 
and other rings, associated with stone avenues, or * paral- 
lelitha,' and upright stones, or * menhirs.' The series is 
commonly known by the name of the Plague Market, from 
a tradition that they were used as a market when Tavi- 
stock v/as attacked by the plague. The stones of these 

* avenues ' are small, and this is the case with most of the 
others, which are commonly associated with well-defined 
and accepted sepulchral monuments. Too much impor- 
tance, however, has been attached to this special class 
of remains ; there are ancient stone-faced hedges on Dart- 
moor, which, when the earth is removed, present * avenues ' 
precisely identical with those of Merrivale, and * track- 
lines or boundary banks,' primitive fences, are common 
wherever there are traces of ancient habitation. 

Dartmoor. 329 

On Torhill, near the great central * trackway ' — the 
ancient Fosseway, traversing the Moor from east to west 
— are traces of an extensive settlement, possibly the 
Ravennat's Termonin. 

The finest ' pound ' on the Moor is the enclosed and 
fortified village of Grimspound, on the flank of Hamildon, 
which gives the structural relics of an ancient settlement 
in an almost perfect state. The only cromlech in the 
county is that at Drewsteignton, already described. The 
word * cromlech/ by the way, has always been applied in 
the West of England to what is more generally known to 
archaeologists as a * dolmen.' Of the ordinary cromlechs, 
or * circles ' of detached stones, Dartmoor supplies several 
examples. The largest is the Grey Wethers, near Sit- 
taford Tor. Commonly called sacred circles, and frequently 
classed with the rude-stone monuments generally as 
*Druidical,' the fact yet remains that they are always 
either definitely associated with interments, or presumably 
so ; while neither Devonshire nor the West of England, 
except in the active imaginations of the antiquaries of 
the last century and their followers, has ever yielded a 
scrap of evidence to connect them with the supposed 
Druidical priesthood, whose existence in Britain depends 
upon the hearsay report of Caesar. The really historic 
Druids of the Kelts were simple ' medicine-men ;' or, as 
Mr. W. C. Borlase defines them, * magicians and white 
witches;' and neither history, tradition, nor folk-lore 
yields any trace of their existence in the West. 

The commonest form of presumed Druidical memorial 
on Dartmoor is the ' rock basin.' The granite crests of 
the hills of the moorland, known as * tors,' are dotted 
with hollows of various sizes, which were held to have 
been hewn out by the Druids, either to catch the blood-of 
their victims sacrificed on imaginary altar stones, or to 
collect the pure waters from heaven for their religious or 
magical rites. Unluckily the geologist has decided that 

330 History of Devonshire. 

these basins — and some are of very remarkable dimen- 
sions — are of natural origin ; and the Druids have never 
recovered from the shock. It is the same with the 
rocking or * logan ' stones. These are simply masses of 
weathered granite, nicely poised by the cunning hand of 
nature. Of many such upon Dartmoor, perhaps the best 
example is the ' Nutcrackers ' at Lustleigh Cleave. 

The geology of Dartmoor, indeed, has had a very 
marked influence upon its archaeology. In the main it is 
a great granitic plateau, broken by numerous valleys, and 
dotted with the rocky peaks of the ' tors.' The granite is 
jointed, often with considerable regularity, and weathers 
into masses and piles irresistibly suggestive of Cyclopean 
masonry ; while the hillsides are bestrewn for miles with 
huge boulders and blocks. These supplied the material 
of the ancient hut-circles and pounds, and they supply the 
material also of modern dwellings and boundaries, which 
have thence a rude and massive character. So with the 
moorland churches. Built almost wholly of granite — 
wall and muUion, tracery and pillar, crocket and arch — 
they have a style peculiarly their own, based upon the 
rugged and intractable stone of which they are reared. 

Some of the most remarkable features in the history of 
Dartmoor are associated with its mining enterprise. Tin- 
mining in Devon and in Cornwall not only dates from a 
period of very remote antiquiiy, beyond the dawn of history, 
but the earliest records present it in the light of an orga- 
nized industry carried on by men who formed a kind of 
corporation, bound to certain duties, and endowed with 
certain privileges. Originally the whole of the tin-miners 
of Devon and of Cornwall formed one body, and met for 
the regulation of their affairs upon Kingston Down. 
Later the two counties were divided, and the tinners of 
Devon had their own ' parliament ' — as it was called — 
meeting in the open-air on Crockern Tor, which rises in 
the heart of the ancient mining district, immediately 


Dartmoor. 331 

above Two Bridges. So far as history extends, the tin- 
mining areas of the West of England — the Stannaries — 
have always been an appanage of the Crown, passing to 
the Duchy of Cornwall upon its creation; but this 
gathering upon * deserted Crockern ' carries us back long 
before the Conquest, to the primitive assemblies at least 
of our Saxon forefathers. Toll of tin used to be paid to 
the Crown or to the Duchy, and for the collection of this 
toll it was enacted that all tin should be weighed and 
'coined* at certain Stannary towns. The coinage con- 
sisted simply in striking off a corner (Fr. coin) of each 
block to ascertain its character, and in stamping it with 
the royal or Duchy arms in token that the quality was 
right and the dues paid. The earliest Stannary record 
dates in 1197, when some such system had evidently been 
long in operation. Chagford, Ashburton, and Tavistock, 
the oldest-named coinage towns, are mentioned as such 
two years later. John granted the tinners a charter in 
1201 ; and in 1305 Edward I. recognised the separation 
of the tinners of Devon and Cornwall as two distinct 
bodies, and appointed Lydford as the Stannary prison for 
Devon. Not long after this Plympton became one of the 
coinage towns. The system of tin coinage continued in 
force with little variation until abolished by Act of 
Parliament in 1838. Under the old Stannary laws the 
tinners had very remarkable powers, extending so far in 
Devon as the right to dig for tin in any man's land, 
without tribute or satisfaction ; and it is probable that 
the Crockern Tor Parliament was quite as much con- 
cerned in the assertion of these rights against the public 
as in regulating internal concerns. There was one rather 
serious provision against adulteration of tin, but with 
that exception the tinners had matters well-nigh their 
own way. The adulterator had a certain number of 
spoonfuls of the melted metal poured down his throat ! 
The Parliament which sat on Crockern Tor consisted of 

332 History of Devonshire. 

twenty-four * Stannators ' from each of the four Stannaries 
of the county, elected in the court of that Stannarj\ It met 
when summoned by the Lord Warden, and was generally 
presided over by the Vice- Warden. Seats were wrought 
in the living granite (unhappily almost every vestige is 
now destroyed), and here under the open canopy of 
heaven the ancient court for centuries did its workc Iti 
later days luxury crept in, and it was held sufficient to 
open commission and swear-in the jurors upon the bleak 
hill-crest, and then adjournment was made to one of the 
Stannary towns. These Parliaments ceased to be held 
early in the last century, though the local Stannary courts 
survived. At that time — and probably there had been no 
deviation from the ancient practice — the election of the 
jurats was by universal Stannary suffrage, all tinners, tin- 
bounders, owners of tin and works, and adventurers in 
the same, and all spalyers or labourers, and other persons 
concerned in tin or tin works, being summoned to be 
personally present and take part in the election. The 
Stannary Court (reformed) is now held at Truro, dealing 
with mines generally within the old Stannary district, and 
not simply with those of tin. The judge is the Vice- 
Warden. We have here, then, an example of the 
continuance of an ancient local law court from times 
beyond record. It is quite possible that the court of the 
Stannaries is the oldest extant jurisdiction in the kingdom. 
The forest of Dartmoor has always been appendant, 
from the earliest record, to the royal manor of Lydford ; 
and long continued wholly within Lydford parish. There 
are records of the perambulations of the forest, and of 
the forest boundaries, as early as 1240. All lands in 
Devonshire, except Dartmoor and Exmoor, had been 
disafforested by John in 1203 or 1204 ; but Dartmoor was 
rigidly preserved, and there appears to be good incidental 
evidence of the rigorous manner in which the savage forest 
laws were enforced in the old saying anent ' Lydford law,' 
already noted. The term * forest ' must be understood 

Dartmoor. 333 

strictly in the legal sense. Dartmoor at present contains 
one patch of ancient woodland — Wistman's Wood, near 
Two Bridges — a wild, weird grove of stunted oaks of vast 
antiquity springing among granite blocks; but though 
evidently once much more wooded than now, the greater 
part of the moorland area must always have been rocky 
and barren. Wistman's Wood has been read *the Wood 
of Wisemen,* ix.^ Druids. There is little doubt it is the 
Keltic uisg'fnaefi'Coed^ * the rocky wood by the water.' 

The most important step in the history of the Moor 
was taken when, early in the present century, Prince 
Town, the moorland capital, was founded, at the sug- 
gestion of Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, Lord Warden, by the 
erection of a prison for the accommodation of the French 
prisoners of war, then crowding the hulks at Plymouth 
Dock. While the war lasted. Prince Town — named from 
the Prince Regent — throve and grew ; when the war 
ceased, the prison and the houses which had sprung up 
around it were deserted, and the little town fell into ruin. 
At one time an attempt was made to utilize the prison 
for manufacturing purposes, by adapting it to the distilla- 
tion of naphtha from the peat ; but this did not prove 
commercially successful, and the place was again aban- 
doned, until the present convict establishment was formed 
in 1855. The prison farm shows of what Dartmoor is 
really capable. Not far distant is a good example of what 
is called on the Moor a 'clapper bridge,' of unknown 
antiquity, slabs of granite on piled piers of granite blocks. 

A cross upon a pedestal raised on a basement of three 
steps, which stood on the Moor near Fox Tor, popularly 
bore the name of Childe's Tomb ; and was said to have 
been erected in memory of a luckless hunter of that name, 
who perished in a snow-storm at or near the spot. The 
structure was perfect seventy years since. The legend 
is a very curious one, and while it cannot be accepted as 
historic fact, does seem to embody some traces of Teutonic 

334 History of Devonshire. 

myth. Risdon mentions Childe's Tomb as one of the 
three wonders of the Moor (Crockern Tor and Wistman's 
Wood are the others) ; and the story, as commonly ac- 
cepted, is that Childe lived at Plymstock ; that being over- 
taken by a snow-storm, he killed and disembowelled his 
horse, and crept into the cavity for warmth ; and finally 
wrote the following couplet in blood and died : 

•The fyrste that fyndes and brings me to my grave, 
The lands of Plymstoke they shal have.' • 

And then it is told how the monks of Tavistock and 
the people of Plymstock both heard of the sad event; 
how the monks obtained the body, and were bringing 
it to their Abbey, when they heard that the Plymstock 
men were lying in ambush to take it from them at a ford 
on the Tavy ; and how they had a bridge built out of 
the usual track and so evaded their rivals, whence the 
bridge was called * Guile Bridge.' And thus, it is said, 
the Abbey of Tavistock obtained the rich Manor of Plym- 
stock. The baselessness of the whole ingenious fabric is 
proved by the fact that the Manor of Plymstock belonged 
to the Abbey of Tavistock before the Conquest, some 
centuries before the date assigned to Childe ; but apart 
from this, the story as it stands is inconsistent and im- 
possible. The delay that must have taken place in the 
removal to enable the Plymstock people to learn of the 
■death in time to intercept the monks ; the fact that Guile 
Bridge really replaced a ford to the Abbey, on the direct 
road to the Abbey Church ; the inadequacy of the time 
at disposal for building such a structure, and its unneces- 
sary character, seeing that the river could be forded — 
each of these points in itself is sufficient to show the 
unhistoric character of the legend. The * Guile ' is 
manifestly a corruption. 

^ Or : ' He that finds and brings me to my tomb, 
The Land of Plemstock shall be his doom.' 



West-Country English has a very peculiar interest in its 
historical relations. It was not merely in the spirit of 
enthusiasm that Charles Kingsley, himself by accident of 
birth a Devonshire man, exclaimed, 'Glorious West- 
Country ! you must not despise their accent, for it is the 
remains of a nobler and purer dialect than our own.' 
Devonshire speech, in fact — as one of its greatest living 
masters, Mr. F. T. Elworthy, has shown — is ' the true 
classic English.' ' We all know that the English of 
Alfred's time, or, as it is called, the Anglo-Saxon, is the 
groundwork upon which our modern English has been 
built up. But Alfred's own variety was in his day the 
polite, the courtly, the only recognised literary — in fact, 
the standard form of speech ; and Alfred was, as we ail 
know, a West-Country man, speaking in West- Country, 
most likely Devonshire style.' Casdmon and Beda had 
long passed away, and until the year noo the language of 
Alfred remained the only written English. 

From about iioo to the beginning of the fourteenth 
century Southern English still held a prominent position 
in the vernacular literature of the country, though several 
writers in the Midland dialect &om time to time arose. In 
the fourteenth century, however, a change came. Wycliffe 
and Chaucer, writing in their own Midland dialect, not 

33^ History of Devonshire. 

only reasserted * the dignity of the despised language of 
the common people/ but made the form of English in 
which they wrote ' the recognised model of the English 
language.' There was no writer of Southern English to 
assert its claims to recognition at this critical period. 
The book language, which they modelled and partially 
created by the help of the printing press, quickly sup- 
planted all the other forms. ' From that time forward 
the language of our great Saxon King was only repre- 
sented by the spoken words of our West-Country fore- 
fathers. • . . Thus . • • the modern courtly dialect, now 
considered to be the correct English, is the descendant 
of what, in Alfred's time, was, by the then educated 
classes, held as much below the recognised standard, 
as our West-Country talk is now reckoned by dwellers 
in Park Lane and Belgravia.' Only once since those days 
has the good broad Saxon dialect of Devon been held 
in court favour: and that was in the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth, whose greatest heroes spake with the tongue 
of their fathers, and were not ashamed ; and who made 
its rugged sounds dear to all who valued stoutness of 
heart and unquenchable courage of soul, and specially to 
the * Great Eliza' herself. Even then, however, the 
dialect had its share of ridicule, as the vain efforts of 
Shakspere and his fellow-dramatists to reproduce it on 
the stage show. It is amusing to note how they thus — 
Shakspere and J onsen more especially — created a false 
rustic dialect which has continued to the present day upon 
the stage, but is known nowhere else. 

There is a very interesting monument of the . old 
Devonshire speech of the fourteenth century, in the 
English translation of * Sir Ferumbras,' printed by the 
Early English Text Society in 1879. This poem was 
undoubtedly written by a Devonshire man in his own 
native tongue, though, in some way or other, he had 
become well acquainted with the use of Northern forms. 

Dialect and Folk-JLore. 337 

Throughout the work there are found the marks which 
still * bewray the speech ' of the true Devonian, whose 
language has not been reduced to the dull dead-level of 
the village school, with its artificial and unhistoric pro- 
prieties. Mr. Elworthy amusingly points out that * Sir 
Ferumbras * shows it to have been as true five centuries 
ago as now, in popular proverbial parlance, that in Devon 

* Everything is he except a Tom-cat, and that's a sA^.' 

In a scientific point of view the chief feature of * Sii 
Ferumbras' is, however, the manner in which it has 
enabled Dr. Murray to solve the vexed problem of the 
Devonshire ' min or mun = them,' which is one of the most 
notable peculiarities of the dialect, and which, while 
thoroughly familiar in Devon, is unknown, except in the 
mouth of Devonshire folk, beyond its borders. This 

* min ' is really derived from a word which appears in the 
poem as hymen, hymyn, hemen, a third person plural dative 
and accusative, specialized from the singular by an added 

* en.' The need of this arose from the fact that while 
in the Northern and Midland dialects in the fourteenth 
century the dative and accusative singular was hem, 
as now, and the plural Aew znAheom, in the West hem stood 
for both numbers, and was pluralized by the ' en,' as in 
German added to ihr to form a plural accusative. 

The true native dialect is most marked at the present 
day in the Dartmoor district, in the remoter localities of 
the North and West, and in the heart of the South 
Hams. The dialect of the East of the county is not so 
distinctive, from the more frequent admixture of Somerset 
and Dorset variations, though these counties generally 
share with Devon the possession of the old West Saxon 
speech. Along the line of the Tamar Cornish influence 
is manifest. This is most marked in Plymouth and 
Devonport, which are sometimes called the 'Cornish- 
man's London,' and which have drawn large numbers, 
chiefly of the working classes, from that county. Here 


338 History of Devonshire. 

also the existence of an Irish quarter has had some effect. 
The popular speech of Exeter is almost purely Devonian, 
and there are many parishes in which the customary talk 
of the villagers would be nearly, if not quite, unintelligible 
to those who are only familiar with modern and polite, 
but are ignorant of ancient and historic, English. 

The Keltic element is seen in the nomenclature of the 
county, but not in any special sense in common speech. 
It occurs chiefly in the names of the rivers, which supply 
indications also of the existence of different Keltic dialects. 
All the larger rivers have Keltic names ; so have those of 
the middle class ; and it is only when we come to the 
smaller streams that the Saxon can be traced. Minor 
affluents had no distinctive name in early Keltic times, 
nor would they receive any until the county was more 
thickly populated. The most remarkable river group is 
that which contains the Tamar, Tavy, Taw, Torridge, 
and Teign — all unquestionably related and all based upon 
one root-word for water, ia or tau, with varjdng suffixes 
for the purpose of definition. Thus Tamar is Ta-maur, 
the * big water ;' Tavy, Ta-vean, the * little water.' In the 
Exe and the Axe we have the Gaelic uisgy again * water ' ; 
and in Avon, afofiy one of the commonest Kymric words 
for a river. Dart is the same name as Derwent, derivable 
from the old Kornu- Keltic Dwr-gwyn, the ' white river ' or 
water. Dwr also appears in the Derle and the Deer^ 
and probably in Otter, as ydwr=* the water.' These are 
merely suggestive hints, for the subject is far too wide to 
be treated in detail here. A few Saxon names may, how- 
ever, be mentioned. Lyn=Afv«w, a 'stream.' In Lyd 
we have hlyd = * loud.' Yeo is the Saxon da=* water.' A 
point of considerable importance as indicative of the 
varied character and origin of the Teutonic immigration, 
is the fact of the grouping of such common names for 
small streams, as brook, burn, beck, bourn, lake, water, 
and fleet. This is seen remarkably, as Mr. C. Spence 

Dialect and Folk-Lore. 339 

Bate has shown, in connection with the Dartmoor river 
basins, distinguishing those of adjoining streams from 
each other in a singularly definite and constant manner. 

The folk-lore of Devon would take a volume to itself. 
With one exception it is thoroughly Teutonic. This 
exception is the Devonshire Pixy, who is not quite 
the northern Elf, but still less the southern Fairy. 
Cornish tradition is peculiar in its tales of giants, but 
these are unknown in Devon save through modem 
importation, while the Pixies are in large part common 
property. They are now said to be the souls of un- 
baptized children, but seem to represent the defeated 
Kelts, in some vague fashion. Similar stories are told of 
them as are current of the Brownie and the Elf; so that 
while the foundation is probably Keltic, the superstructure 
is Saxon — as with many of the local weather and other 
rhymes — and of the widest national type. One of the 
most prevalent phases of the * Pixy cult ' still extant is 
the practice of turning garments inside out as a remedy 
against being ' Pixy-led ' after nightfall. 

The * Wish Hounds ' of Dartmoor, and the * Yeth 
Hounds ' of North Devon, are the * Gabriel Hounds ' of 
Durham and Yorkshire ; * the * Wild Hunt ' of Germany ; 
the ' Yule Host ' of Iceland ; the * Hunt Macabe ' in parts 
of France ; while there is evidence of the later importation 
of this wild fancy into Cornwall in the form it assumes 
about Polperro, of the * Devil and his Dandy Dogs.' 

Whately's statement that ' the vulgar in most parts of 
Christendom are continually serving the gods of their 
heathen ancestors,' is literally true in the West. Living 
animals have been burnt alive in sacrifice within memory 
to avert the loss of other stock. The burial of three 
puppies * brandise-wise ' in a field is supposed to rid 
it of weeds. Throughout the rural districts of Devon 
witchcraft is an article of current faith, and the toad is 
thrown into the flames as an emissary of the evil one. 

22 — 2 

340 History of Devonshire, 

There are still to be found those who believe that the 
sun dances on Easter morning ; those who, when they 
see the new moon, half in jest and half in earnest, wish 
and courtesy, and turn the money in their pockets ; and 
those, too, who would not dare to insult the moon by 
pointing at her, for fear of some terrible revenge on the 
part of the offended luminary. The ship -carrying in 
honour of the crescent moon, adapted from paganism into 
Christian custom, which formed the central feature of the 
Corpus Christi pageant in mediaeval Plymouth, has con- 
tinued to the present day as a May-day * garland.' A 
tradition that the mines on Dartmoor were worked when 
wolves and winged serpents dwelt in the valleys, may be 
connected with serpent worship, or may allude to the 
inroads of Norsemen in their * sea-snakes.' To a Teutonic 
origin are to be traced a number of superstitions con- 
nected with the ash, the most vital of which is the passage 
of a ruptured child through a split ash sapling, the parts 
of which are then brought together again. 

A very curious illustration of the growth of compara- 
tively modern folk-lore is supplied by the remarkable set of 
legends which have been associated with the name of Sir 
Francis Drake. It is said that he brought the Plymouth 
Leat into that town by ' art magic,' compelling a Dartmoor 
spring to follow his horse's tail as he galloped ahead ; that 
he made fire-ships for the destruction of the Armada by 
throwing chips of wood from Plymouth Hoe into Plymouth 
Sound ; that he * shot the gulf ' which divided this upper 
world from the antipodes by a pistol ; that he threw a 
boy overboard because cleverer than himself; that he 
fired a cannon ball through the earth to prevent his wife 
committing bigamy; that he rises to his revels if you 
beat his old drum ; and that he offered to make Tavistock 
a magical seaport ! 


Abbot's Wav, 984 

Abbotihacn, 150 
Actand Sillily, 46 
Acland, SirT. D., 46 
Act of Uniformity, 33 
jEddslan's expulsion of 1 
Albemarle, Duke of, 160 
i£lfryth, i8i 
Alvington " 


s, 391 


AshburtoHi 177 ; Guild of SL Lawrence, 

173 ; discovery in church, 3B0 
AshburtoD. Lord, 379 
Asbboty, 164 
Ash-uee folk-lore. 367 
Ashton, 317 
Ashe, 65 
Alherington, 113 
Aadley, Lord, T14 
Anniiister, 60 ; carpets, 63 
Aimoulh, 70 
AysWord, loo 

Babbsge, Charles, 263 
Baege, Sir Junes. 333 

Baldwin. Archbishop, 40 
fialle. Sir Peter, 315 
Bampiylde family, 46 
Bampton. oS 
Banpton, John de, 99 
Baring family, 43 
Barlynch Abbey, 99 
Barnslaple, iifi: prioiv, 117 i bridge, 
117; guilds, 119: Hugueaots, lai ; 

BuTows and boirow-buililers, a 
Basset, CoL Arthur. 117 
Bastard bmfly, 339 
Bath, Sir HeniT, 170 
Bath faailOD Colk-lan. 171 

Beer, 73 ; Reestone. 73 

Beer Ferreis, 198 : mloes, 199 

Benson. Thomas, 140 

Berry, Sir John. 99 

Berry Narbor, 131 

Berry Pomeroy Castle, 163 

Bickleigh. ig8 

BiolOQ, 76 

Bishops Oyst. S3 
Bishops Tawton, 113 
Bishopsieignton, 314 
Blachford. 337 
Bloody Assiie, 45, 63,69, s 
Bluell, Col. F., 100 
Blundell. Peter, 94 
fiodley fkmilT, 40 
Bodley, Sir Thomas, 41 
Boniface. St., 108 
Bonvile family, 67 
BoDvile. Lord, 67 

Botlor Rock, 31 B 
Bourchier fkmily, 136 
Bovey Tracey, 318 
Boveyba^i discoveries in, 309 
Bovey lignite, 319 

Bowring, Sir John, 42 
Bracton, Henry de, 1&4 
Biadheld House, B8 
Bradley, 306 
BradmeiE Pool, 334 
Bradnlncb, 89 
Brampford Speke. 44 
Brannock. legend of St. , 136 
■ 77 


History of Devonshire. 

Braunton, 126 

Breakwater at Plymouth, 221 

Brent, 284 

Brent Tor, 191 

Prian, Sir Guy de, 289 

Bridestowe, 169 

Britte, Wa'.ter, 237 

Briwere, Wm. de, 293 

Brixham, 301 ; lords and ladies, 302 ; 

landing of William of Orange, 302 
Brixton, 236 
Broad Clysr, 53 
Broadhembury, 82 
Brockedon, Wm., 263 
Broke, de, 198 
Bronze Period, 3 
Browne, Wm., 189 
Brutus the Trojan, 254 
Brutus Srone, 254 
Bryant, the mythologist, 222 
Buckfastleigh, 283 
Buckfastleigh Abbey, 281 
Buckland-in-the-Moor, 284 
Buckland, West, 104 
Buckland Monachorum, 194 
Buckland Abbey, 194 
Budleigh, East, 51 
Budleigh Salterton, 51 
Budleigh pebbles, 51 
Buller family, 302 
Bulmer, Sir Bevis, 131 
Bulteel family, 244 
Burlescombe, loi 

Cadbury Castle, 96 

Cadover, 230 

Cauonleigh Nunnery, 100 

Canonteign, 317 

Carew family, 83 

Carew, John, Lord Deputy, 83 

Carew, Thomas, 83 

Carew, Bampfylde Moore, 96 

Cary family, 295 

Cary, Chief Baron, 295 

Cary, Sir George, 296 

Carys of Clovelly, 151 

Castle Hill, 103 

Cavalier rising at South Molton, 25 

Chagford, 321 

Champemowne family, 340 

Chichester family, 125 

Childe the hunter, 333 

Christow, 317 

Chittlehampton, 113 

Chudleigh, 316 

Chudleigh family, 317 

Chudleigh, Sir George, 317 

Chulmleigh, 112 ; prebend myth, XZ2 

Churchstow, 245 

Cider, 285 

Clayhanger, 99 

Clifford family, 316 

Clifford, Lord Treasurer, 316 

Clovelly, 151 

Clovelly Dikes, 150 

Clyst Valley, 53 

Clysthydon, 53 

Clyst, St. George, 53 

Cockington. 293 

' Codex Exonieiisis,' 31 

Coffin family, 150 

Coffin, Sir William, 150 

Cogan, Sir Milo, 99 

Colcombe, 68 

Coleridge family, 85 

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 8$ 

Colyford, 70 

Colyton, 68 

Combe Martin, 131 ; silver lead-mines 

131 ; curious custom, 132 
Compton Castle, 301 
Cookworthy, Wm. , 247 
Coplestone Oak, 200 
Coplestone Cross, no 
Coplestone family, zii 
Corinaeus and Goemagot, 204 
Comwood, 236 
Comworthy Priory, 266 
Corp brasses, 272 
Cosway, Richard, 95 
Countesbury, 133 
Countess Weir, 37 
Courtenay family, 56 
Courtenay, Lord Edward, 57 
Coverdale, Myles, 301 
Cowick Priory, 44 
Cowley, Hannah, 95 
Cranch, John, 43 
Cranmore Castle, 96 
Crediton, 21, 105 ; bishopric of, 105 ; 

cathedral, 106 
Crediton. barns of, 21 
Crispin, Thomas, 247 
Crocker family, 239 
Crockem Tor, 330 
Cross, John, 96 
Crosse, Richard. 96 
Croyde ' flint factory,' 127 
Cruwys family, in 
Cullompton, 87 
Culmstock. 88 
Cutcliffe, John, 130 
Cyneheard, 60 
Cynewulf, conquest of Devon, 8 

Darlington, 264 

Dartmoor, 326 ; Venville tenure, 327 ; 
rude stone monuments, 327 ; track- 
ways, 329 ; hut circles, 328 ; pounds, 
329 ; rock basins, 329 ; geology, 330 ; 
mining, 330 ; forest laws, 332 ; tradi- 
tions, 3^3 

Dartmouth, 267 ; ' shippeman,' 270 ; 
invasion, 271 ; sieges, 274 ; worthies, 
272, 275 

Davey, Rev. Wm., 166 



Davis. John, 272 

Dawlisn, 314 ; ' flood,' 315 

Dean Prior, 265 

Dedication feasts, 290 

Denbury Fair, 290 

Devonport, 224 ; dockyard, 224 

Devonshire, * Good Earl * of, 93 

Dialect, 335; Keltic and Teutonic 
elements in place-names, 338 

Dinant family, 152 

Dodbrooke, 246 

Doddridge, Sir John, 124 

Dolbury Hill, 96 

Domesday Hundreds, 11 

Doones of Badgery, 134 

Drakes of Ashe, 65 

Drakes of Nutwell, 53 

Drakes of Prattsbide, 48 

Drake, Sir Francis, 187 

Drake myths, 340 

Drewsteignton, 323 

Drewsteignton cromlech, 324 

' Druidical ' monuments, 32 ; supersti- 
tions, 323-329 

Duckworth, Sir T. , 52 

Dundonald, Lord, 80 

Dunkeswell Abbey, 89 

Dunmonii, 5 

Duntze family 43 

D'Urfey, Tom, 42 

Durnford family, 227 

Eadulph, first Saxon Bishop of Devon, 

Early history, i 

Earthworks in East Devon, 59 

East Budleigh, 57 

Eastlake, Sir C. L. , 223 

Ecclesiastical history, 27 

Ecgberht's conquest of Devon, 8 

Eddystone lighthouses, 221 

Edgcumbe family, 193 

Edmonds, Sir Thomas, 222 

Eggesford, 113 

Elford family, 197 

Elf rid a, 181 

Ercedekne, Sir John, 309 

Erie, Sir Walter, 71 

Ermingtoh, 242 

Exanmutha, 47 

Exeter Assembly, 34 

Exeter, 12 ; Roman, 13 ; Witenagemot ; 
13 ; Swegen at, 15 ; opposition to the 
Conqueror, 16 ; siege by Saxons, 17 ; 
Parliament, z8 ; siege by Stephen, 18 ; 
dukes of, 19 ; Lancastrian, 19 ; Rich- 
ard in. at, 19 ; Perkin Warbeck, 20 ; 
siege by Western Rebels, 20 ; Cava- 
liers and Puritans, 24 ; William of 
Orange at, 25; ^Edalstan's monas- 
tery, 27 ; Eadweard the Confessor, 
27 ; foundation of see, 27 ; cathedral, 
a8 ; religious houses, 97, 30 ; bishops, 

30 : Puritan era, 33 ; mints, 35 ; 

guilds, 36, 38; merchant adventurers. 

39 ; worthies, 40 
Exminster, 54 
Ex mouth, 47 
Exmouth Warren, 49 
Exon Domesday, 31 

Fardell, 236 

Ferrers family, 198 

Foliott, Gilbert, 200 

Filleigh, 103 

Fitz of Fitzford, 185 

Flavel, John, 276 

Flitton oak, 102 

Floyer Hayes, 44 

Ford Abbey, 64 

Ford House, 307 

Ford, John, 288 

Ford, Sir Henry, 288 

Ford, Thomas, .32 

Folk-lore, 339 

Follett, Sir W., 42 

Fort Charles, 250 

Fortescue family, 103 

Fortescue, Sir John, 103 

Fortescue, Sir Henry, 103 

Fortescue, Sir Faithful, 104 

Fortescue, Sir Edmund, 250 

Fosseway, 5 

Foster, Nathaniel, 237 

Fremington, 125 

Frithelstock Priory, 158 

Fulford family, 324 

Fulford, Great, 324 

Gandy, James, 41 
Gafulford. 8 
Gale, Theophilus, 310 
Garston, 248 
Grates, Sir Thomas, 70 
Gay, John, 124 
Gereint, 7 

Gibbs, Sir Vicary, 4a 
Gidleigh, 323 
Gidley family, 323 
Giffard family, 114 
Gifford, L.ord, 42 
Gilford, William, 279 
Gilbert family, 272 
Gilbert, Sir Humphry, 
Gilbert, Sir Adrian, 273 
Giles, Sir Edward, 265 
Gittisham, 81 
Glanville family, 189 
Glanville, Sir John, 189 
Glanville, Serjeant, 189 
Glanville, Joseph, 222 
Godolphin, Sidney, 322 
Gorges, Sir Ferdinando, ali^ 
Great Fulford, 324 
Greenway, 272 
Greenway, John, 94 


History of Devonshire. 

Grronrille fiusflr, 141 
Grenirille, Sir Richard. 141 
OreoirUle, Sir Bevil, 142 
Grenville. Sir Richard, 186 
Grimf poond, 329 
Gobbinsef , the, 177 

Haccombe, 300 

Hach Antndeli, 353 

Halbmon, 97 

Half family, 353 

Haldon, 58 

Haldon Houfe. 55 

Hamo'f Port, 903 

Hankford, Sir William, 158 

Hannaditcbes, Roman vilk at, 73 

Harberton, 365 

Harding, Thomas, 130 

Harford, 343 

Harris family, 338 

Harris. Sir W. S.,33a 

Hart, S., 333 

Hartiand, 153 ; Abbey, 153 

Hatherleigh, 163 

Hawkins family. 308 

Hawkins, Sir Jchn, 308 

Hawkins, Sir *Richard, 208 

Hawkins, William, 908 

Hawley, John, 370 

Haydon, B. R., 333 

Hay man, Francis, 43 

Heanton Punchardon, 197 

Heanton Satchville, 165 

Hcarder, Jonathan, 333 

Heavitree. 43 

Hele, Elize, 336 

Hele, Sir John, 338 

Hemvock, 88 

Hembury, tradition touching, 385 

Hembury Fort, 83 

Hennock, ^x8 

Herle, Sir wm., 130 

Herrick, Robert, 266 

Hieritha, St., X04, Z13 

Piighweek. 305 

HiUinrd. Nicholas, ^z 

Hlngston Down, 185 

Hody, Sir John, 309 

Hoker, John, 40 

Holbeton, 944 

Holcombe Ko^us, 100 

Holdsworth family, 376 

Holne, 990 

Holne Chase, 384 

Holsworthy, 163 

Holy Street mill, 333 

Honeychurch, 164 

Honiton,jro ; corporate seal, 80 ; lace, 80 

Hooker, Richard, 40 

Hope Cove. Armada wreck in. 959 

Horwood, 140 

Howard, Lady, z86 

Hubbastow, 147 

Hudson, Thomas. 43 
Hughes, George. 247 
HuguenoCs at Exeter. 43 
Huguenots at Bamsta^. 131 
Hugneoots at Plymouth and Stone 

bouse, 238 
Humphry. Ozias, 81 
Hunter's Lodge, folk-lore, 78 

Iddesleigh, 164 

Ideford, 290 

Iliiacombe. 128 ; St. Nicholas Chapel. 

138 ; attempted invasion. 139 
Ilton, 249 
Ilsington. 388 ' 
Inscribed Stones, 179. 238. 318 
Instow, 148 
Ireland, Dean. 279 
Isabella de Fortibus, 37. 93 
Isca Dunmoniorum^ 13 
Iscanus, Josepbus, 40 
Ivybridge, 343 

Jackson, Wm., 43 
facobstow, 165 
Jewel, Bishop, 130 
[oseph. Michael, 149 
fudhel of Totnes, 257 

Kelly, 193 

Kempthorne, Sir John, 344 

Kenn, 54 

Kennaway family, 43 

Kennicott, Benjamin, 369 

Kent's Hole, 9, 291 

Kerswill. Kings and Abbots, 310 

Killerton, 46 

King, Lord Chancellor, 42 

Kingsbridge, 245 ; climate. 248 

Kingsley, Canon, 285 

Kingsteignton, 310 

Kirton spinning, 107 

Kitley, 239 

Kitto, John, 222 

Knowstone, 99 

Landkey, 125 

I^andscore, 10 

Lane, John, 88 

Langton, Archbishop, 40 

Leach, W. E.. 222 

Leofric, first Bishop of Exeter. 27 

Lethbridge, John. 308 

Lifton, 192 

* Little Choky Bone,' 69 

Littleham, 47 

Lundy Island. 137 ; antiquities, 137 ; 

piracies, 138 
Lustleigh, 318 
Lydford, 179 ; mint. 174 ; law, 176 ; 

prison, 177 
Lye, Sir E*. 959 
Lye, Ed^-ard, 969 



Lyfing, Bishop, i8a 
Lyneham, 239 
Lynmouth, 134 
Lynton, 133 

Malborough, 249 

Mamhead, 315 

Manaton, 335 

Maristow, 200 

Marwood, Thomas, 81 

Marisco family. 137 

Marlborough, Duke of, 66 

Mayjlovxr, the, 215 

Maynard, Sir John, 190 

Mayne, John, 163 

Merton, 161 

Meavy, 197 

Merivale Bridge. 328 

Merivale, J. H. , 42 

Mining antiquity of. 3 

Modbury, 240 ; Priory, 240 ; fair, 242 

Mohuns Ottery, 83 

MoUand Bottreaux. los 

Molton, North, 102 

Molton, South, ici 

Monkleigh, 158 

Monk, General, 160 

Monmouth, DiUce of, 62, 69 

Montagu, CoL, 247 

Morebath, 99 

Moreman, Dr., 153 

Moretonhampstead, 320 

Morice, SirWm., 41 

Moridunum, 71 

Morthoe, 134 

Morte Stone, 135 

Netherton, 82 

Newcomin, Thomas, 275 

Newlands, 125 

Newenham Abbey, 61 

Newport Episcopi, 124 

Newton, 305 

Newton, clays, 308 

Newton Poppleford, 5a 

Newton St. Cyres, 109 

Norman Conquest, 17 

Northam, 147 

Northam Burrows, 148 

Northcote family, 45 

Northcote, Sir John, 45 

Northcote, James, 223 

North Devon, ancient roads in, Z15 

North Devon, Armada fleet, 143 

North Lew, 162 

North Molton, 102 

North Tawton, 170 

Nutwell, 53 

Nymets, the, 114 

Ockley, Simon, 42 
Ogham inscriptions, 179 
Okehampton, 167 ; castle, 168 

Old Port, 241 

Orange, landing of William of, 302 

Ordulf. 181 

Oreston caves, 237 

Otterton Priory, 76 

Otterton cartulary, 74 

Ottery St Mary, 84 ; college, 84 ; 

church, 85 ; school, 86 
Oxenham family, 172 
Oxenham, John, 172 
Oxenham Omen, the, 171 

Packhorses, zi6 

Page of Plymouth, 189 

Paignton, 300 

Palk family, 55 

Palaeolithic Man, i, 60, 291 

Pancrasweek. 165 

Parkers, Earls of Morley, 233 

Parliament House, 304 

Parliaments, Tinners', 330 

Peamore, 54 

Peryam, llord Chief Baron, 41 

Peter Pindar, 248 

Petre, Sir William, 289 

Petrockstow, 165 

Pilgrim Fathers, the, 215 

Pilton Priory, 120 

Pinhoe, curious tradition, 15 

Pjxies, 339 

Plymouth, 201 ; prehistoric relics, 20a ; 
development out of the Suttons, 204 ; 
the Black Prince, 206 ; invasions, 
206 ; Katherine of Aragon, 207 ; in 
the days of Elizabeth, 209 ; the 
Armada, 211 ; the colonization of 
New England, 213 ; siege of, 216 ; 
worthies of, 222 

Plymouth Company, 2x3 

Plymouth China Works. 247 

Plymouth Dock, old name of Devon- 
port, 225 

Plympton, 230 ; Black Prince at, 231 ;• 
Castle, 232 ; Priory, 233 

Plymstock, 237 

Plymtree screen, 90 

Pole, Sir Wm., 68 

Pollard family, 149 

Poltimore, 46 

Polsloe Priory, 44 

Pomeroy family, 263 

Pomeroy, Sir Thomas, 264 

Poole Priory, 253 

Portlemouth, 35a 

Potheridge, 160 

Powderham Castle, 55 

Pre-Roman civilization in Devoa, 4 

Prideaux family, 82 

Prideaux, Bishop, 243 

Prince Town, 333 

Princess Henrietta Anne, 24 

Prout, Samuel, 223 

Prouz family, 318 


History of Devonshire. 

PuUdo, Cardinal. 40 
PmitaDism, 31 
Pynes, 45 

Quick, John, 223 

Radford, murder of Nicholas, 67 

Radford. 338 

Ralegh family. 49 

Ralegh, ^r Walter, 50 

Ralegh, rashop. 125 

Rattenbury. Jack, 73 

Rattery, 266 

Red deer, 102 

Redvers, Baldwin de, 167 

Religious Houses, 27, 30, 44, 61, 64, 76. 

83. 89, 99, 100, 117, 120, 152, 158. 

179, 184, 205, 233. 240, 251, 253, 257, 

266, 294 
Revelstoke, 237 
Reynell family, 306 
Reynolds, John, 40 
Reynolds. Sir Joshua, 235 
Ring-in-the-Mire, 82 
Risdon, the chorographer, /do 
Rogers family, 237 
Romansleigh. 103 
Roman intercourse, 5 
Rougemont, 17 
Russell, Lord, 22 

Salcombe, 249 

Salter, William, 81 

Saltram. 233 

Sampford Courtenay, 21 

Sampford Peverell, 97 

SSampford Spiney, 197 

Sativola, St, 27 

Savery, Thomas, s^.z 

Saxon colonization and conquest, 7 

Saxon place-names, 10 

Seaton, 72 

Sewers, the, 249 

Seymour, Sir Edward, 264 

Shaldon, 313 

Sharpham heronry, 266 

Shaujgh, 197 

Shebbear, 165 

Sheepstor, 197 

Shillingford, 54 

Shobrooke, 109 

Shower, Sir B., 41 

Shute, 67 

Shute, John, 41 

Sidbury, 78 

Sidmouth, 74 ; residence of the Queen, 

Sidwell, St., 27 

Silverton, 90 

Sir Ferumbras, 336 

Sithric of Tavistock, 17 

Slade. Abbot, 282 

Slanning, Sir Nicholas, 198 

Slapton, 253 

Sokespitch family, 53 

Southcott. Johanna, 8z 

South Molton, loi 

South Molton, Cavalier rising, loi 

South Tawton, 171 

South Zeal, 171 

Spanish Bam, the, 297 

Spinster's Rock, 324 

Speke family, 45 

Splatt Cove! legend of, 251 

St Aubyn family, 224 

St Giles-in-the-Wood, 159 

St. Leonards, 43 

St. Mary Qyst, 53 

St. Mary Clyst, battle at, 23 

St Mary's Church, 293 

St Mary de Marisco, 44 

St Thomas, 23, 44 

Stadio Deventia, 302 

Staddiscombe, 237 

Stapledon, Bishop, 278 

Starcross, 58 

Stephens, E. R, 42 

Stevenstone, 159 

Stockleigh, English and Pomeroy, 109 

Stoke Canon, 44 

Stoke Damerel, 223 

Stokenham, 252 

Stoke St Nectan, 153 

Stonehouse, 226 

Stone, Nicholas, 41 

Stone Period, 3 

Strachleigh, 243 

Strodes of Newnham, 235 

Strode, Richard, 177 

Strode, William, 234 

Stukely family, 153 

Stukely, Tliomas, 153 

Stukely, Sir Lewis, 153 

Sully, Sir John, 164 

Sutton, old name for Plymouth, 204 

Sydenham, 192 

Swymbridge, 104 

Tamarweorth, 200, 204 

Tamerton Foliott, 199 

Tavistock, 179 ; Abbey, 181 ; press, 

183 : mines, 185 
Tawton, South, 171 
Tawton, North, 170 
Tawstock, 125 
Teignbridge, 306J 
Teignweek, 306 
Teigngrace, 310 

Teignmouth, 311 ; burnt by French, 312 
Tenures, peculiar, 44, 49, 53, 76, 109, 

165, 253 
Termolus, 103 
Teutonic mark, 10 
Teutonic words, 338 
Teutonic folk-lore, 340 
Thorverton, 45 



Thurleston, 249 

Tindal, Matthew, 199 

Tiverton, 91 ; fires, 95 ; school, 94 

Topsbam, 52 

Torbay, 992 

Torouay, 291 

Tor Brian, 289 

Torre, 293 

Torre Abbey, 294 

Torre Mohun free bench, 298 

Torrington, 154 ; Margaret of Rich- 

mofid at, Z55 ; defeat of Hopton by 

Cromwell and Fairfax, 155 ; common 

rights, 157 
Totnes, 254 ; legendary history, 254 : 

mint, 256 ; Castle, 257 ; Priory, 257 ; 

guild merchant, 258 ; worthies, 259 ; 

* rows ', 262 ; 
Totnes shcxre, 2^5 
Tracy tomb at Morthoe, 135 
I'relawny, Bishop, 30 
Tfemayne family, 192 

Uffculme. 88 
Ugborough, 244 
Ugbrooke, 316 
Umberieigh, 113 
Underbill, Wm., si 
Upton Pjrne, 45 

Valley of Rocks, 133 

Villenage in the 14th century, 283 

Wadham, Nicholas and Dorothy, 77 

Walchentone. 194 

Walkharopton, 194 

Walker's * Sufferings of the Clergy,* 33 

Walrond family, 88 

Warelwast, Bishop. a8 

Weare, 52 

Wear Giffard, 159 

Wembury, 237 

Westcote, Thomas, 109 

Western Rebellion, 21 

Westward Ho, 148 

Whitboume, Richard, 48 

Whitchurch, 193 

White ale, 247 

Whiddon, Sir John, 322 

Widecombe, 285 

Widecombe thunder storm, a86 

Wiganbeorche. 204 

Wiger, Sir John, 45 

Williams, Thomas. 243 

Winscott, 150 

Winkleigh, 165 

Wise family. 192 

Wise, Sir Thomas, 224 

Wistman's Wood, 333 

Withycombe Ralegh, 49 

Wolborough, 305 

Wolcott, Dr., 248 

Wonford, 43 

Woodbury, 53 

Woodland, 243 

Woollcombe family, 236, 239 

Woollen manufacture, 36 

Worth, 96 

Wrey, Sir Bourchier, practical engineei 

ing, 118 
Wynfrid, 108 

Yealmpton, 238 
Yewe, 109 
Yonge family, 69 
Yorge, James, 222 

Zeal Monachorum, 172 
Zeal, South. 171 

EWci Stockt Peiiemosttr Rum, Londm.